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Men's Leather Bags: The Ultimate 2021 Buying Guide

Men's Leather Duffel Bag
Men’s Leather Duffel Bag / Weekender

Men’s Leather Bags - The Best on the Market

Leather is one of the most marvelous materials out there. It has many uses and applications, from leather furniture, leather accessories, and other leather goods. One of the most known applications for leather is men’s bags. Leather bags are strong, durable, and are able to carry more weight than other materials out there. However, if you are looking to buy one you might have a problem. Men's leather bags come in many shapes and sizes. There are leather backpacks, leather messenger bags, and leather duffel bags among others.

Finding the correct one for you might be a hard quest, yet in end, it will be enormously rewarding. There are quite a few factors to consider when choosing among the men's leather bags. However, with this guide choosing the perfect leather bag will be a breeze.

Men’s Leather Bags: The Things To Consider

Of course, there are a lot of things for us to consider when choosing a bag. Things such as the size, the type, and the kind of leather. However, the most important thing to consider is how you will use the leather bag. Its use is very important and should be the main factor in choosing a leather bag. Otherwise, you would utterly regret choosing a large duffel bag for the office or something similar.

Size

Among the things to consider is size. Men's leather bags come in various sizes. From small backpacks to medium size messenger bags to large and heavy duffel bags. Likewise, as the size increases so will its weight. In order to find the best bag for your needs, you should evaluate the bag in comparison to your body size and strength. Additionally, you may want to consider what items will also be included in your backpack as well.

The Type of Bag

Of course, since this is an article about Men's leather bags, you will definitely have to consider the type of bag to choose from. Each type offers a different future from straps to handles, to the pockets, and zippers. Some also consider choosing the style that compliments their look. Take a lawyer, for example, a leather briefcase will surely complement his style more than carrying a leather backpack to court.

The Type of Leather for you Men’s Leather Bags

If you think there is only one type of leather then you are wrong. There are a variety of leather types to choose from. Different types of leather will also have different qualities and characteristics. There are soft types of leather, there is also a leather that is thick, there are also leathers that are flexible. Moreover, there are many types of leather to choose from, there is high-grade leather and there is low-grade leather. Likewise, there is also real leather and there is also faux leather.

Get to know more about leather here: Steel Horse Leather Co. | The Journal

Price

If you are thinking of buying leather goods such as men's leather bags, the price will surely be a factor. The price will usually depend on the quality or grade of the leather. Some types of leather such as full-grain leather may cost more than most if not all leather. If a leather type of your liking is too expensive there are other grades to choose from. Some leather types such as top grain leather are great in both quality and price. Moreover, most of the real leather is great in quality although some of them might be a little bit pricey than the others. On the other hand, fake leather is cheap yet you comprise the quality of the material. It is therefore important to do your research before blindly choosing a leather bag just because it looks good.

Use

If you will choose between many types of men's leather bags, the thing you might want to consider the most is how you will use them. Use is very important in deciding which bag to pick. You may want the leather bag for school, or for work, for the office, for impressing your friends and family, and even your clients. Moreover, let us not forget that one of the main uses of leather bags is for travel. Whether you go on a quick weekend trip or a long hike out in the woods.

Men's Leather Bag

Men's leather bags are designed to protect our fragile digital devices from carrying laptops and mobile phones, to housing cameras and accessories.

Men’s Leather Bags - Leather Backpacks

Leather Backpacks are not your ordinary backpacks. Leather backpacks are made to look rough and rugged. It is perfect for the outdoors and any outdoor activity. Of course, while its looks are different, leather backpacks function like ordinary backpacks as well. For many years the backpack has been used to ease the burden of carrying heavy things by transferring that burden to your shoulders. This likewise frees your hands from carrying anything.

There have been many variations of the backpack. With many altercations to its design and material. Likewise, with each modification, the backpack broadens its uses. From students using it in school to mountaineers and hikers that love to go camping and hiking. The backpack is almost perfect for any occasion.

With many varieties of backpacks, so do men's leather backpacks. Below is a list of what we think are the best leather backpacks of 2021. From aesthetic to function, these leather backpacks are sure to catch your eye.

The Hagen Backpack

Strong, durable, and vintage. The Hagen Backpack is a leather backpack worthy of high praise. It is a bag that is made for everyday use. Despite its rugged look, the Hagen Backpack is very comfortable to wear. Its material is made from crazy horse leather. It is therefore soft and lightweight. Moreover, because of its durability, it is a bag that is perfect for daily use.

The Hagen is likewise a spacious bag. It is able to fit a 14-inch laptop inside comfortably and securely. It likewise has two exterior compartments for added space. These exterior compartments are likewise secure yet easy to access.

The Asmund Backpack

What is Tooling Leather?

tooled leather bag

We all know for a fact that leather is beautiful. Other than its unique patina, how do we turn leather into something equally mesmerizing? A technique that people use to give the leather a bit of style is tooling. Tooling leather is what you may commonly see on book covers, wallets, belts, holsters, and other leather goods. They are those fascinating detailed ornamental works that you see on leather. While almost all types of leather can be tooled, tooling leather is the best leather for the job. Let us get to know more about tooling, tooling leather, the process of tooling, and many more.

What is Tooling Leather?

What exactly is tooling leather? To answer that questions we must first get a few things straight. We must first understand the difference between tooling and tooling leather. Tooling is the process of engraving or embellishing designs on leather. Tooling leather on the other hand is the leather that we use to make those beautiful designs. Think of tooling leather as the canvas.  Conclusively, tooled leather is the leather that has gone through the tooling process or creative design.

Going back to the question, tooling leather can be any leather available. However, they generally use vegetable-tanned leather. Of all the types of leather, why would they prefer vegetable tanned leather? The answer is quite simple. Unlike other methods of tanning, the vegetable tanning process produces leather that is a bit softer and easier to work with. Likewise, since you are trying to etch designs onto the leather, you would generally need softer leather. Besides vegetable tanned leather, there are also other types of leather that can be used as tooling leather. For example, you can use bridle and rawhide as substitutes. However, the final product will not be nearly as good as the vegetable-tanned leather.

Moreover, tooling leathers also come in different thicknesses. The thickness of the leather will vary from one project to another. For example, a belt will require a thicker cut of leather than a knife sheath or wallet. Likewise, different layers of leather can also be glued together to create thick leather. These are usually for designs that require more thickness than the normal cut.

How Is Tooling Leather Prepared to be Worked

To create those beautiful designs and patterns we need to prepare the leather. While technically any leather can be tooled it does not produce the best result. This is because some types of leather are too stiff to cut with leather stamps and tools. Likewise, we would not want leather that is too soft, flexible, or bouncy that it erases the stamp impressions. What we need is a type of leather that is soft enough for cutting yet firm enough for stamping. This leather is vegetable-tanned leather.

The Dagny Weekender

To work with vegetable tanned leather we must first prepare. The preparation process is pretty simple. In order for the leather to be workable, it needs to be moist. What better way to moisten leather than to use water. This process of moistening the leather is what we call casing. Wetting the leather will make the fibers swell and soften. This step is necessary for us to shape and manipulate the leather's surface.

To moisten the leather we rub a damp sponge on both the flesh side and the grain side of the leather. It is important that we apply the water evenly as possible on both sides. When leather is moistened it will begin to return to its natural color so do not be alarmed. Moreover, we can only work with leather once it is moist or wet. If tooling is not yet complete while the leather is wet you can always repeat the steps to remoisten the leather.

Leather for Tooling, Carving, and Engraving: What is?

Leather for tooling, carving, and engraving can be any type of leather. However, if we just use any type of leather for tooling and carving, the results will likely vary. Tooling needs to be done on leather that is soft enough to cut and carve, but firm enough for stamping. Vegetable leather is therefore what many consider the best leather for tooling and carving. It possesses the characteristics and quality that allow us to manipulate leather surface easily. Moreover, vegetable-tanned leather also maintains certain features even after a sharp object has been forced over it.

How to obtain good results in leather carving?

To obtain good results there are certain things that need to be done. First, you must have the right leather for the job. While it is true that you can use other types of leather for tooling, vegetable-tanned leatherwork is considered to be the best. Moreover, it is easier to work with, especially for beginners.

Next is to have the proper leather working tools. Without the proper leather tools, manipulating the leather's surface would be a very difficult task. It may not also turn out as great as you want it to be if you do not have the proper tools. There are various tools that we use in tooling leather. Each tool has a unique function that will affect the surface differently.

small leather camera bag
The Calista

Lastly, you must possess the proper skill and knowledge in tooling leather. You may have the right tooling leather and the right tools but if you do not know what you are doing then what is the point. Proper skill and knowledge are necessary, and so are experience and practice.

In conclusion, to obtain good results, you must possess all three. Perfecting tooling takes time and practice. Enjoy the process and express yourself as much as you can on this beautiful canvas.

Difference between leather engraving and embossing

Leather craft is not only a profession but can also be a hobby. For the untrained eye, it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between leather engraving and leather embossing. For those who are not familiar with leather crafting, engraving and embossing may look the same. While it is true that they bring more life and character to the material, both, in a way, are different.

The main difference between engraving and embossing is the procedure. To get those beautiful patterns, embossing uses a machine called presses. The machine engraves a pattern on the leather by applying heat and pressure to the surface. Embossing is usually done if you want uniform designs on the leather. It is also widely used in mass processing because it is easier and faster. Embossing is, therefore, a mechanical way of leather crafting.

Corporate leather gifts

For leather engraving, we use our hands. No machine, just tools, skill, and a lot of practice. Maybe a little bit of sweat here and there. Leather engraving is a long process in comparison to embossing. It takes time to perfect. Most of the time, its designs are left to the creativity of the craftsman. Unlike embossing where the pattern is predetermined. It may therefore come out as unique in a way. Leather engraving also offers great satisfaction once you master it. It, likewise, makes a great hobby!

How to engrave, tool or carve a leather hide?

To engage, tool, or carve a leather hide you will first need the right leather. The starting leather material that many generally use is "crust leather". It is usually a semi-finished full grain hide whose surface is still in the natural stage. At this stage, the hide or leather is perfect for engraving.

To start the process, the hide or leather needs to be moist. It is important to moisten the leather so that its fibers become ready for tooling. Moreover, it is only when the surface is moist where you can carve the leather. Once the leather dries out, it would be difficult to manipulate the leather's surface. You can, however, just re-apply water to the leather's surface from time to time, or for as long as the project takes. It is also important to remember that you must apply or moisten the surface as evenly as possible. We usually apply or moisten the surface by rubbing it with a damp sponge.

Once the preparations are complete, you are now ready to engrave, tool, or carve the leather hide. There are different techniques that you can apply. Many patterns and textures are also available to carve on the grain side of the hide. However, you must have the proper tools to properly engrave, tool, or carve the leather. These tools are not that expensive. Likewise, there is no need for you to spend a fortune on tools. Just have the right tools for the right job and you will be fine. Some people only need a swivel knife, a background tool, and a hammer.

Appearance

Tooling leather vegetable tanned leather
Vegetable Tanned Leather

Since we generally use vegetable tanned leather as tooling leather, its appearance will largely depend on the whole tanning process. Vegetable tanning uses natural tannins that come from leaves, branches, the bark of trees, and plants. This natural process of tanning produces natural earthy colors like browns, beiges, yellows, and even red. Vegetable tanning also produces a distinctive smell on the leather. The leather usually has a sweet, woody fragrance. Something that you normally associate with real leather. It also produces a unique set of shades and other nuances on the surface, making it look and feel genuine.

Products Tooling Leather is Commonly Used For

Since engraving, tooling, or carving leather is typically by hand, its use is more personal. Many treat tooling leather as an ornamental item for their personal collection. Since it is a labor-intensive process, it is generally expensive. Its price is also due to the use of high-quality leather necessary and equipment for tooling. Tooling leather has many uses. From shoes to bags, belts, holsters, life sheats, clutches, wallets, and many more. As long as you use the right leather, the right tools, and creativity, tooling leather will have infinite uses!

saddle tooling leather

Advantages of Tooling Leather

The main advantage of tooling leather against other types of leather is that it is perfect for engraving, tooling, or carving leather hide. It is also the ideal leather for embossing designs on leather. Using other types of leather will not produce the best results. High-quality tooling leather on the other hand will produce edges that are sharper, clearer, and more well-defined. Moreover, since this type of leather is generally vegetable-tanned leather, it will develop a beautiful patina over the years. This type of leather is also strong and durable, and will typically last for a long period of time.

Disadvantages of Tooling Leather

The process of creating leather from the vegetable tanning process is slow and labor-intensive. It is also an expensive process. It likewise, requires a lot of time and a great deal of patience. Another disadvantage of tooling leather is its inconsistencies. Because it uses hides from different animals, its quality will differ greatly. Some may not be the same qualities as the other just because it comes from a different animal. Furthermore, there is no artificial protective agent coating on this form of leather. As a consequence, it's vulnerable to the elements.

How to Care for Tooling Leather

Tooling leather is an ornamental item. It is personal and unique. It is likewise expensive. You wouldn't want anything as exquisite and expensive as tooling leather to deteriorate too easily. Even if the tooling is made of high-quality leather, it will need some tender loving care. Here are some ways to properly take care of tooling leather.

A big disadvantage when it comes to this type of leather is that it has no protective agent coating whatsoever. It is therefore vulnerable to the elements like water and the sun. It is best to avoid getting the leather wet. In case the leather does get wet, you can wipe it dry with a soft dry cloth. Allow it to dry in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Do not dry your leather by exposing it to heat or hot hair.

cleaning tooling leather

Of course, other than the elements, leather is vulnerable to dirt, dust, and grime. There are many ways to remove and clean them. The easiest method is to wipe it off with a damp cloth. You can also dampen the cloth with mild soap or baby shampoo. Be sure to wipe it dry after! However, since this leather has carvings on its surface, dirt, dust, and grime can get into difficult-to-reach places. Brushes are usually the right tool for the job. We recommend using animal hair brushes for cleaning. Brushes that have synthetic bristles tend to be stiff. We likewise recommend cleaning the leather at least once a week, especially if you use it often.

Finally, add leather conditioner to the leather. This will nourish the fibers while also providing a protective coating. We suggest that you wax the leather on a regular basis if you want it to stay in good shape.

Tooling a Simple Leather Bag

We mention how leather tooling requires skill to do. However, it is a lot easier than you think. With the right tools, a little bit of guidance, and practice you can make beautiful leather carvings yourself! In fact, all you need is a few tools, vegetable tanned leather, a sponge, and some water.

The Felman Backpack

Once again, you do not need to spend a fortune on tools to tool leather. Especially if this is your first time or if you are new to tooling leather you might want to start small. You will essentially need a few tools. These essential tools are a swivel knife, a background tool, and a mallet or a hammer. A shader of some kind would also be a good tool to have. However, if you are not ready to invest in one or if there are none available there are alternatives. A spoon is an easiest and most common replacement.

If you have your tools and leather ready let us start tooling! The most common designs for tooling leather are usually leaves and flowers. While these designs are beautiful and look elegant, we encourage you to be creative. If you are not that confident in your creativity yet, that is okay. There are numerous designs on the internet for you to follow or for inspiration.

Step 1: Transfer Your Design to the Leather

Before you actually transfer the design to the leather, you must first moisten the leather with your damp sponde. Once the leather is wet enough you can start your design. Generally, there are two methods to design the leather.

The first method and probably the safest thing to do for newbies is to print out a design. Place the design on the leather ink-side up and trace the line with a stylus. A stylus is a special tool we use to trace the printout onto the leather. If there is none available you can always use a pencil or anything that will dent the surface of the leather.

The second method is to freehand the design. You may either refer to a design on the internet or get creative. Make a custom design yourself. Be sure to get the leather wet so that it will leave a dent where you run your pencil or stylus.

Step 2: Cut the Lines

After the design is clearly indented on the leather it is time to use your swivel knife. Use the swivel knife and trace along with the design. You will actually cut the leather here wherever the bold lines and edges are. A swivel knife blade is sharp, control is very important. Make sure not to cut the leather all the way through. We recommend you cut it halfway through. First-timers or those who have not had enough practice tend to make shallow cuts. That is okay, however, shallows cuts usually end up looking flat in the end.

tooling leather tool

At this point, your leather will look really nice with all those cuts and the design. However, this is just the second step. There are still a few things to do to make the leather more beautiful.

Step 3: Bevel the Edges

In this step, we will use a shader or a special beveling tool. However, a spoon is really great alternative. Use the spoon to bevel the edges that you want to stand out. This will add depth to the design and make it look even better. After beveling the cuts, we are more than halfway done.

Step 4: Add Little Cutesy Stuff

After the third step, the leather and your design will probably look like the final product. However, there are a few steps that will make the tooling leather look better. This step is not necessary and will require a specific tool for the job. If you have the tool available, then better. If you have none, it’s okay, just move along to the next step.

In this step, you will need a seeder. This tool makes little circles on the leather for added design. We usually use this to add “seeds” in plants or flower designs. Another tool that you may also use is a camouflage tool. this tool makes little dimple on the leather, commonly used in leaves.

Step 5: Fill in the Background

The next step is fairly simple however it is time-consuming. This is also an essential step, so you can’t skip this out. Use your background tool and stamp down all the backgrounds on your design. This will make your design really stand out, so do not hold back on stamping it down.

Step 6: Add Finishing Touches / Edits

Take a look at what you have accomplished so far. Take a look at the design, get a closer look or take a step back and see the whole picture. Make finishing touches such as cutting, beveling, or stamping.

Step 7: Finish the Leather

Finally, is to add a finishing. You can either opt not to do this since it is not really a necessary step. However, you can always add a protective layer to your leather once you are done tooling. We suggest you condition the leather and really get in the cuts and edges. This will protect the leather, especially if you don’t have time to clean it regularly.

Enjoy Your Masterpiece

Tooling leather and leather crafting, in general, takes time to perfect and master. Be proud of your work, especially if this is your first time tooling a leather bag. With dedication, practice, and creativity, you can master tooling in no time. This also a great time to appreciate the process that goes through tooling leather.


https://steelhorseleather.com/blogs/the-journal/tooling-leather

What is Tooling Leather?

tooled leather bag

We all know for a fact that leather is beautiful. Other than its unique patina, how do we turn leather into something equally mesmerizing? A technique that people use to give the leather a bit of style is tooling. Tooling leather is what you may commonly see on book covers, wallets, belts, holsters, and other leather goods. They are those fascinating detailed ornamental works that you see on leather. While almost all types of leather can be tooled, tooling leather is the best leather for the job. Let us get to know more about tooling, tooling leather, the process of tooling, and many more.

What is Tooling Leather?

What exactly is tooling leather? To answer that questions we must first get a few things straight. We must first understand the difference between tooling and tooling leather. Tooling is the process of engraving or embellishing designs on leather. Tooling leather on the other hand is the leather that we use to make those beautiful designs. Think of tooling leather as the canvas.  Conclusively, tooled leather is the leather that has gone through the tooling process or creative design.

Going back to the question, tooling leather can be any leather available. However, they generally use vegetable-tanned leather. Of all the types of leather, why would they prefer vegetable tanned leather? The answer is quite simple. Unlike other methods of tanning, the vegetable tanning process produces leather that is a bit softer and easier to work with. Likewise, since you are trying to etch designs onto the leather, you would generally need softer leather. Besides vegetable tanned leather, there are also other types of leather that can be used as tooling leather. For example, you can use bridle and rawhide as substitutes. However, the final product will not be nearly as good as the vegetable-tanned leather.

Moreover, tooling leathers also come in different thicknesses. The thickness of the leather will vary from one project to another. For example, a belt will require a thicker cut of leather than a knife sheath or wallet. Likewise, different layers of leather can also be glued together to create thick leather. These are usually for designs that require more thickness than the normal cut.

How Is Tooling Leather Prepared to be Worked

To create those beautiful designs and patterns we need to prepare the leather. While technically any leather can be tooled it does not produce the best result. This is because some types of leather are too stiff to cut with leather stamps and tools. Likewise, we would not want leather that is too soft, flexible, or bouncy that it erases the stamp impressions. What we need is a type of leather that is soft enough for cutting yet firm enough for stamping. This leather is vegetable-tanned leather.

The Dagny Weekender

To work with vegetable tanned leather we must first prepare. The preparation process is pretty simple. In order for the leather to be workable, it needs to be moist. What better way to moisten leather than to use water. This process of moistening the leather is what we call casing. Wetting the leather will make the fibers swell and soften. This step is necessary for us to shape and manipulate the leather's surface.

To moisten the leather we rub a damp sponge on both the flesh side and the grain side of the leather. It is important that we apply the water evenly as possible on both sides. When leather is moistened it will begin to return to its natural color so do not be alarmed. Moreover, we can only work with leather once it is moist or wet. If tooling is not yet complete while the leather is wet you can always repeat the steps to remoisten the leather.

Leather for Tooling, Carving, and Engraving: What is?

Leather for tooling, carving, and engraving can be any type of leather. However, if we just use any type of leather for tooling and carving, the results will likely vary. Tooling needs to be done on leather that is soft enough to cut and carve, but firm enough for stamping. Vegetable leather is therefore what many consider the best leather for tooling and carving. It possesses the characteristics and quality that allow us to manipulate leather surface easily. Moreover, vegetable-tanned leather also maintains certain features even after a sharp object has been forced over it.

How to obtain good results in leather carving?

To obtain good results there are certain things that need to be done. First, you must have the right leather for the job. While it is true that you can use other types of leather for tooling, vegetable-tanned leatherwork is considered to be the best. Moreover, it is easier to work with, especially for beginners.

Next is to have the proper leather working tools. Without the proper leather tools, manipulating the leather's surface would be a very difficult task. It may not also turn out as great as you want it to be if you do not have the proper tools. There are various tools that we use in tooling leather. Each tool has a unique function that will affect the surface differently.

small leather camera bag
The Calista

Lastly, you must possess the proper skill and knowledge in tooling leather. You may have the right tooling leather and the right tools but if you do not know what you are doing then what is the point. Proper skill and knowledge are necessary, and so are experience and practice.

In conclusion, to obtain good results, you must possess all three. Perfecting tooling takes time and practice. Enjoy the process and express yourself as much as you can on this beautiful canvas.

Difference between leather engraving and embossing

Leather craft is not only a profession but can also be a hobby. For the untrained eye, it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between leather engraving and leather embossing. For those who are not familiar with leather crafting, engraving and embossing may look the same. While it is true that they bring more life and character to the material, both, in a way, are different.

The main difference between engraving and embossing is the procedure. To get those beautiful patterns, embossing uses a machine called presses. The machine engraves a pattern on the leather by applying heat and pressure to the surface. Embossing is usually done if you want uniform designs on the leather. It is also widely used in mass processing because it is easier and faster. Embossing is, therefore, a mechanical way of leather crafting.

Corporate leather gifts

For leather engraving, we use our hands. No machine, just tools, skill, and a lot of practice. Maybe a little bit of sweat here and there. Leather engraving is a long process in comparison to embossing. It takes time to perfect. Most of the time, its designs are left to the creativity of the craftsman. Unlike embossing where the pattern is predetermined. It may therefore come out as unique in a way. Leather engraving also offers great satisfaction once you master it. It, likewise, makes a great hobby!

How to engrave, tool or carve a leather hide?

To engage, tool, or carve a leather hide you will first need the right leather. The starting leather material that many generally use is "crust leather". It is usually a semi-finished full grain hide whose surface is still in the natural stage. At this stage, the hide or leather is perfect for engraving.

To start the process, the hide or leather needs to be moist. It is important to moisten the leather so that its fibers become ready for tooling. Moreover, it is only when the surface is moist where you can carve the leather. Once the leather dries out, it would be difficult to manipulate the leather's surface. You can, however, just re-apply water to the leather's surface from time to time, or for as long as the project takes. It is also important to remember that you must apply or moisten the surface as evenly as possible. We usually apply or moisten the surface by rubbing it with a damp sponge.

Once the preparations are complete, you are now ready to engrave, tool, or carve the leather hide. There are different techniques that you can apply. Many patterns and textures are also available to carve on the grain side of the hide. However, you must have the proper tools to properly engrave, tool, or carve the leather. These tools are not that expensive. Likewise, there is no need for you to spend a fortune on tools. Just have the right tools for the right job and you will be fine. Some people only need a swivel knife, a background tool, and a hammer.

Appearance

Tooling leather vegetable tanned leather
Vegetable Tanned Leather

Since we generally use vegetable tanned leather as tooling leather, its appearance will largely depend on the whole tanning process. Vegetable tanning uses natural tannins that come from leaves, branches, the bark of trees, and plants. This natural process of tanning produces natural earthy colors like browns, beiges, yellows, and even red. Vegetable tanning also produces a distinctive smell on the leather. The leather usually has a sweet, woody fragrance. Something that you normally associate with real leather. It also produces a unique set of shades and other nuances on the surface, making it look and feel genuine.

Products Tooling Leather is Commonly Used For

Since engraving, tooling, or carving leather is typically by hand, its use is more personal. Many treat tooling leather as an ornamental item for their personal collection. Since it is a labor-intensive process, it is generally expensive. Its price is also due to the use of high-quality leather necessary and equipment for tooling. Tooling leather has many uses. From shoes to bags, belts, holsters, life sheats, clutches, wallets, and many more. As long as you use the right leather, the right tools, and creativity, tooling leather will have infinite uses!

saddle tooling leather

Advantages of Tooling Leather

The main advantage of tooling leather against other types of leather is that it is perfect for engraving, tooling, or carving leather hide. It is also the ideal leather for embossing designs on leather. Using other types of leather will not produce the best results. High-quality tooling leather on the other hand will produce edges that are sharper, clearer, and more well-defined. Moreover, since this type of leather is generally vegetable-tanned leather, it will develop a beautiful patina over the years. This type of leather is also strong and durable, and will typically last for a long period of time.

Disadvantages of Tooling Leather

The process of creating leather from the vegetable tanning process is slow and labor-intensive. It is also an expensive process. It likewise, requires a lot of time and a great deal of patience. Another disadvantage of tooling leather is its inconsistencies. Because it uses hides from different animals, its quality will differ greatly. Some may not be the same qualities as the other just because it comes from a different animal. Furthermore, there is no artificial protective agent coating on this form of leather. As a consequence, it's vulnerable to the elements.

How to Care for Tooling Leather

Tooling leather is an ornamental item. It is personal and unique. It is likewise expensive. You wouldn't want anything as exquisite and expensive as tooling leather to deteriorate too easily. Even if the tooling is made of high-quality leather, it will need some tender loving care. Here are some ways to properly take care of tooling leather.

A big disadvantage when it comes to this type of leather is that it has no protective agent coating whatsoever. It is therefore vulnerable to the elements like water and the sun. It is best to avoid getting the leather wet. In case the leather does get wet, you can wipe it dry with a soft dry cloth. Allow it to dry in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Do not dry your leather by exposing it to heat or hot hair.

cleaning tooling leather

Of course, other than the elements, leather is vulnerable to dirt, dust, and grime. There are many ways to remove and clean them. The easiest method is to wipe it off with a damp cloth. You can also dampen the cloth with mild soap or baby shampoo. Be sure to wipe it dry after! However, since this leather has carvings on its surface, dirt, dust, and grime can get into difficult-to-reach places. Brushes are usually the right tool for the job. We recommend using animal hair brushes for cleaning. Brushes that have synthetic bristles tend to be stiff. We likewise recommend cleaning the leather at least once a week, especially if you use it often.

Finally, add leather conditioner to the leather. This will nourish the fibers while also providing a protective coating. We suggest that you wax the leather on a regular basis if you want it to stay in good shape.

Tooling a Simple Leather Bag

We mention how leather tooling requires skill to do. However, it is a lot easier than you think. With the right tools, a little bit of guidance, and practice you can make beautiful leather carvings yourself! In fact, all you need is a few tools, vegetable tanned leather, a sponge, and some water.

The Felman Backpack

Once again, you do not need to spend a fortune on tools to tool leather. Especially if this is your first time or if you are new to tooling leather you might want to start small. You will essentially need a few tools. These essential tools are a swivel knife, a background tool, and a mallet or a hammer. A shader of some kind would also be a good tool to have. However, if you are not ready to invest in one or if there are none available there are alternatives. A spoon is an easiest and most common replacement.

If you have your tools and leather ready let us start tooling! The most common designs for tooling leather are usually leaves and flowers. While these designs are beautiful and look elegant, we encourage you to be creative. If you are not that confident in your creativity yet, that is okay. There are numerous designs on the internet for you to follow or for inspiration.

Step 1: Transfer Your Design to the Leather

Before you actually transfer the design to the leather, you must first moisten the leather with your damp sponde. Once the leather is wet enough you can start your design. Generally, there are two methods to design the leather.

The first method and probably the safest thing to do for newbies is to print out a design. Place the design on the leather ink-side up and trace the line with a stylus. A stylus is a special tool we use to trace the printout onto the leather. If there is none available you can always use a pencil or anything that will dent the surface of the leather.

The second method is to freehand the design. You may either refer to a design on the internet or get creative. Make a custom design yourself. Be sure to get the leather wet so that it will leave a dent where you run your pencil or stylus.

Step 2: Cut the Lines

After the design is clearly indented on the leather it is time to use your swivel knife. Use the swivel knife and trace along with the design. You will actually cut the leather here wherever the bold lines and edges are. A swivel knife blade is sharp, control is very important. Make sure not to cut the leather all the way through. We recommend you cut it halfway through. First-timers or those who have not had enough practice tend to make shallow cuts. That is okay, however, shallows cuts usually end up looking flat in the end.

tooling leather tool

At this point, your leather will look really nice with all those cuts and the design. However, this is just the second step. There are still a few things to do to make the leather more beautiful.

Step 3: Bevel the Edges

In this step, we will use a shader or a special beveling tool. However, a spoon is really great alternative. Use the spoon to bevel the edges that you want to stand out. This will add depth to the design and make it look even better. After beveling the cuts, we are more than halfway done.

Step 4: Add Little Cutesy Stuff

After the third step, the leather and your design will probably look like the final product. However, there are a few steps that will make the tooling leather look better. This step is not necessary and will require a specific tool for the job. If you have the tool available, then better. If you have none, it’s okay, just move along to the next step.

In this step, you will need a seeder. This tool makes little circles on the leather for added design. We usually use this to add “seeds” in plants or flower designs. Another tool that you may also use is a camouflage tool. this tool makes little dimple on the leather, commonly used in leaves.

Step 5: Fill in the Background

The next step is fairly simple however it is time-consuming. This is also an essential step, so you can’t skip this out. Use your background tool and stamp down all the backgrounds on your design. This will make your design really stand out, so do not hold back on stamping it down.

Step 6: Add Finishing Touches / Edits

Take a look at what you have accomplished so far. Take a look at the design, get a closer look or take a step back and see the whole picture. Make finishing touches such as cutting, beveling, or stamping.

Step 7: Finish the Leather

Finally, is to add a finishing. You can either opt not to do this since it is not really a necessary step. However, you can always add a protective layer to your leather once you are done tooling. We suggest you condition the leather and really get in the cuts and edges. This will protect the leather, especially if you don’t have time to clean it regularly.

Enjoy Your Masterpiece

Tooling leather and leather crafting, in general, takes time to perfect and master. Be proud of your work, especially if this is your first time tooling a leather bag. With dedication, practice, and creativity, you can master tooling in no time. This also a great time to appreciate the process that goes through tooling leather.


https://steelhorseleather.com/blogs/the-journal/tooling-leather

What Is Top Grain Leather

top grain leather duffel bag
The Wainwright Weekender

What is Top Grain Leather?

There are many types of leather out there. Each type of leather will vary in quality. Among the many types of leather, there is one they call top grain leather. Top grain leather is among the highest quality of leather there is. It possesses characteristics that make up great leather. It is likewise has a beautiful appearance that manifests its great quality. Moreover, what makes this leather so great? Or how is top grain leather made? And more importantly, how does it differ from other types of leather. Let us get to know more about this wonderful leather in this article.

Where does Top Grain Leather Come From?

Most types of leather these days are usually from the skin of cows or cowhides. This is because cowhides are easily and readily available, they have great size, and have amazing quality. Likewise, most of the top grain leather we see today comes from cowhide. However, depending on the availability and use, leather can also come from other animals. Other than cows, animals that are common for making leather are pigs, sheep, deer, horses, and kangaroos. There are also some exotic leathers out there. These exotic leathers usually come from alligators, ostriches, elephants, snakes, frogs, and stingrays.

For simplicity and because it is the most common practice today, top grain leather usually comes from cowhide. Moreover, we may also refer top grain leather as real leather, similar to full grain , pure aniline leather, semi-aniline leather, and pigmented leather. This is because they come from real animal skin. On the other hand, we call those that are not made from real animal skin faux leather or fake leather. The difference whether real or faux affects the leather grade significantly.

How is Top Grain Leather Made?

The process of making Top Grain Leather is very similar to the process used to make any other leather products such as full grain. However not similar to making genuine leather.

Splitting

What really defines top grain leather is the splitting process. This is usually done when the animal skin is too thick to work with. The hide is therefore split into layers. The different layers of animal skin likewise offer different characteristics. Some layers are more strong and durable than others. Other layers also have a more uniform look while others have a natural leather look. Splitting leather is usually done by cutting the leather horizontally. Other methods of reducing the thickness of the hide are sanding and buffing the topmost surface. Splitting the leather is all done during the pre-tanning stage. It is likewise the stage where we clean and prepare the hide for tanning.

Why do we split leather?

We split leather hide mainly for two reasons. The first is when the animal's hide is too thick. Thick leather is very hard to work with because it is not very flexible or bendable. It will therefore require more manpower. We, therefore, split the leather to reduce its thickness, making it easier to work with since it now because more pliable.

The second reason is to give the surface a fresh start. Animal skin usually has many imperfections. On its surface, we may usually see some scratches, blemishes, wounds, and more. To remove these imperfections the skin goes through the process of splitting. Splitting thereby removes the outer layer where the imperfections are and start fresh. There are also other methods to remove the imperfections. These are the sanding process and buffing. Both likewise serve the same purpose which is to remove the topmost layer. A fresh start also allows us to apply a variety of finishes to the leather.

Round Vintage Leather Weekender

Tanning

The next step is the tannage of the hide. Tannage is the process of soaking and tanning the skin in a variety of tannins - products like oak bark, sumac, or iron salts. Products like Sumac are still available in most grocery stores. There are two major methods or techniques to tan leather. These two techniques are the vegetable tanning method and the chrome or chromium tanning method. Either of the methods is great for producing leather. These methods however will produce leather with varying characteristics. These days chrome or chromium tanning is the most common method since it is easy and cheaper to do. It is likewise an industrialized process now. Of course, the kind of method used will depend on the tannery.

Dressing and Finishing

Once the leather goes through the tanning process it then dried, dressed, and finished. Usually, the leather goes through a dyeing process or a re-tanning process before finishing the whole leather-making process off.

Why do we call it Top Grain Leather?

Honestly, if you are trying to look for top grain on a cross-section of animal skin you might get it wrong. Top leather grain is not actually the topmost layer of the hide. We call it top grain because it contains natural grain and that the top layer has not been cut away. If we are trying to refer to the topmost layer, that would be the full grain. The layer where we alter nothing and keep it as is.

Altering or cutting off the natural grain is done through either sanding, buffing, or splitting. These are what we call the corrective process. As such top grain leather belongs to the class we call corrected grain leather or corrected leather. We may also refer to top grain as split-grain leather for the same reasons.

What Does Top Grain Leather Look Like?

Leather these days have a variety of appearances. There are many reasons for the many different looks of leather. From the tanning method, dyeing, and finishing. The look of leather will also depend on the type of hide and which side we are going to use. Great examples would be suede and nubuck leather.

For top grain it sports a uniform look on its surface. This is very evident especially when you compare top grain leather to full grain leather. Top grain has a uniform look since it goes through the process of splitting, sanding, and/or buffing. A uniform look offers a very refined look that is just not possible with other types of leather. It looks very classy and very sharp, especially on a leather briefcase. The type of leather that is perfect if you are trying to go for a business or professional look!

The Endre Weekender

What is the Difference Between Top Grain Leather and Full Grain Leather?

When it comes to high-quality leather, both top grain and full grain will always be in the conversation. What are their similarities? Most importantly what is their differences? In order for us to distinguish the two, there are five main differences to look at as a guide.

Quality

Even though we both consider top grain and full grain leather as top quality leather, there is still a bit of nuance when it comes to quality. The difference in quality is mainly because of the leather-making process. Specifically during the process of splitting leather. When we split leather there are pros and cons that come with it. In this case, when we split leather, we also split the layer of animal skin that contains the most fibers.

The difference, therefore, is that full grain contains all of the fibers that are found in the grain layers because we do not split it. It, therefore, is stronger because of it. The top grain on the other hand still contains some of the natural grain which nonetheless also makes the leather strong. It is however not the same quality when we compare it to full grain.

Comparing the quality of full grain and top grain, however, is not very obvious. It might take some time for you to find out which is which. The following differences however will be easier to spot.

Cost

The cost of leather will vary, and it is a very good indicator of quality. The cost of leather will factor in a lot of things. From the type of animal hide that was used, the method of tanning, and the cost of labor. When comparing full grain and top grain, the former will be obviously expensive. There is a significant difference in prices and it is mainly because of labor.

As we mentioned earlier, when leather is too thick we split. Mainly because it is difficult to work with. Working with full grain leather will cost more labor because it is not as easy to work with in comparison to top grain. Top grain is flexible and easy to shape. It, therefore, requires less labor and therefore requires less cost. There are other factors that contribute to the price difference.

Check the price tag!

Vintage Leather Duffel Bag

Appearance

Sometimes, the price tag is not the most reliable way to identify and differentiate full grain from top grain. Sometimes, you just need to take a closer look.

Full grain and top grain have different looks. Full grain has distinguishable natural leather marks from the days the animal was still alive. It therefore may contain wound marks, scratches, blemishes, and other imperfections on its surface appearance. Top grain on the other has a more uniform and refined look. This is mainly because the leather has been through the corrective process. The corrective process either splits, sands, or buffs the leather to remove the unwanted imperfections.

Aging

When it comes to aging, there is a clear difference between top grain and full grain. Because full grain possesses natural grain, it will change like fine wine. Its surface will develop a patina as time passes. The patina will likely give the leather a more vintage or antique look. It is beautiful and is proof of its age.

Top grain on the other hand will not develop a patina over time. This is because the patina will only develop on the natural grain of the hide. Nonetheless, top grain may still look vintage with the help of modern technology.

Durability

When it comes to durability, both make it to the top of the list. Both types of leather are durable and are made to stand the test of time. However, full grain is the more durable one, while top grain only comes second to it. The main reason for the difference in durability is the presence of those strong fibers found on full grain. These fibers make the leather stronger and durable, however, it sometimes sacrifices flexibility.

While top grain only comes next to full grain do not get the wrong idea that it is an inferior type of leather. It is still strong and durable.

Thoughts from Comparison

Both full grain and top grain are excellent leather. While there are differences between them, they are not that far off. Both belong to the higher echelon of leather quality. Choosing between the two can sometimes just be a matter of preference.

What is the Difference Between Top Grain Leather and Bonded Leather?

When it comes between top grain leather and bonded leather, there are quite a few differences. For one, the quality gap between the two is wide. Top grain clearly having the better quality. To understand the difference between top grain and bonded, it is best to know what is bonded leather.

What is Bonded Leather

Bonded leather is a type of top grain leather that has been pre-stretched or pre-bent into shape. It's usually done by applying hot plastic to the leather. Then it's allowed to cool, hardened, and then heated again to remove it from the plastic. The result is a piece of soft (bonded) leather that can be shaped easily but will bend back into shape easily if you try. Top grain leather is stiffer than full grain and pre-saturated leather, but it still benefits greatly from a good quality press. The layer of skin separating the two layers can also be removed by applying heat to the skin and then allowing it to cool. This process results in much harder, more durable leather that can last for years without wearing out.

Comparisons

Top grain is also more durable and stronger than bonded leather. It will therefore handle more stress and will last longer. Bonded leather easily cracks and/or peels especially when there is frequent exposure to sunlight. It is also more difficult to repair and it requires a lot of experience and skill to make it look good.

Bonded leather is usually more flexible than top grain (pre-saturated) leather. It is most often used in shoes as it will stretch (bounce back into shape when you strike the heel with your foot) but will not bend as much when you move your foot around. There is also a difference in price. Do not let a low price fool you. Sometimes it is best to invest in pricey leather because of the overall quality. Sometimes people tend to get enticed by the price and invest in bad leather. What makes leather great is that it lasts for a very long time, and that is mainly due to its great quality materials.

What are the Advantages?

There are many advantages to using top grain leather, but here are some of them that we can list: It's more durable than normal-grain leather and will last longer. One advantage is that it's more comfortable for shoes that have thinner soles and footbeds. It is softer and more flexible than regular leather, making it more comfortable in shoes. It is also stretchier than average-grain leather, making it perfect for clothing items like jackets and pants. Its flexibility makes it great for upholstery in cars.

The biggest advantage of using top grain leather is that it is cheaper to use than alternatives like full grain leather and kangaroo. Its appearance can also be dyed to imitate other appearances of other leather types. It can therefore be made to look like vintage leather or other exotic leathers. However, at most times, people prefer to keep the sleek and refined look of top grain.

top grain leather duffel bag
The Dagny Weekender

What are the Disadvantages?

While we regard top grain leather as high quality leather it still has its disadvantages. One disadvantage of top grain leather is that it is not a very breathable leather. This is usually the effect when the animal hide goes through the process of sanding and buffing. While the corrective process does remove the imperfections brought by scars and blemishes on the surface of the skin it does have adverse effects. One of those affects the leather’s breathability. Removing the top layer of the skin also prevents the leather from absorbing bodily oils.

The biggest disadvantage of top grain leather however is that it's not as long lasting as full grain leather. It's also not quite as durable as average-grain leather and won't be quite as water resistant. Thus, it is more likely to get brittle and crack as the fibers dry out. It, therefore, has a shorter lifespan, especially if not taken care of properly. Moreover, unlike full grain leather, top grain leather cannot develop a patina likewise for the same reasons.

Proper Care and Conditioning

If you want your top grain leather to live and last as long as it can, proper care and conditioning are very important. Moreover, without any proper care and conditioning, most if not all leather types would not survive the test of time. Likewise, taking care of top grain leather is not enough. Leather no matter how strong is delicate, and therefore needs the proper tools and technique to clean. So what is the proper way to take care and condition top grain leather?

The Right Tools

Cleaning top grain leather is no different from cleaning full grain or aniline leather. However, you will still need the right tools for the job. Do not be intimidated. Most if not all of the “right” tools you can find inside your home or in your local grocery. Of course, the kind of tools you will need will depend on whether you are cleaning a leather sofa, a bag, boots, or even a wallet. For the sake of this article, we will use a leather bag as a reference. To clean a top grain leather bag you will need a few things. You will need:

  • Soft and Dry Clean Cloths (3-4);
  • Dry Paper Towel
  • Leather Cleaner or Saddle Soap
  • Leather Conditioner

Doing it the Right Way

Leather is delicate so you will need to clean it properly. It is always important to remember to never submerge the top grain leather on water. Water will ruin the leather and it will eventually start to crack. What you need to do is use a damp cloth to moisten the leather. Afterward, you may apply the soap. If you have saddle soap or leather cleaner available you may use baby shampoo or mild soap. Rub the soap in a soft circular motion until you remove any dirt, grime, or dust. Rinse the leather afterward with a damp cloth. Make sure to wipe it dry right away too!

top grain leather duffel bag
Large Leather Duffel Bag

Let the leather air dry as well. Do not dry the leather through direct sunlight as it might dry out and crack. After it dries you may apply the leather conditioner the same way as applying the soap. The leather conditioner revitalizes the fibers and offers a protective coating on the leather. It makes the leather less susceptible to the elements. That is why it is important to apply a finish coat after every cleaning.

Tips

Water is harmful to leather especially when there is no protective coating around it. In case you spill water or when the leather gets wet make sure to dry it right away. Always keep a dry cloth around to wipe it dry. NEVER, and we mean NEVER use heat to dry it. You may overdry the leather and it will start to crack.

We also advise that you condition your leather at least twice a year or every 6 months. This will keep the leather strong and protected. However, if you use your leather more frequently, we suggest you clean and condition it as frequently as well.

Also, it is best to avoid storing the leather on a plastic cover. Plastic covers may cause mold to grow on the leather especially in humid areas. It is best to store leather in a cool dry place where it has no exposure to direct sunlight. To remove the mold, use a soft clean cloth and dip it in a solution of water and isopropyl alcohol in equal parts. Wipe it dry after.

The Bard Weekender

What are the Possible Uses of Top Grain Leather?

There are many uses of top grain leather. From leather furniture, leather accessories and other leather goods. It can take many forms including sofas, shoes, belts, wallets, and especially bags!

Where Can I Get Top Grain Leather Bags?

There are many places to get top grain leather bags. But if you want the best of the best Steel Horse Leather Co. is the place. We have all sorts of leather bags, from travel bags to messenger bags, from briefcases to Dopp kits, and backpacks to wallets. More importantly, we use only top grade leather, including top grain leather!


https://steelhorseleather.com/blogs/the-journal/top-grain-leather

Aniline Leather: What is Aniline Leather?

Aniline leather

What is aniline leather? Maybe this is your first time hearing about it. Maybe you are familiar with aniline leather but do not really know what it is. While it is a different type of leather, it is not so different from high quality like top grain. In fact, it can be hard to tell them apart from a distance. However, once you get a closer look and feel it, then you can see the difference. Knowing how to identify different types of leather is important, especially when it comes to use and care.

So the question is: how is aniline leather different from other types of leather? How do we tell them apart? And what are its different advantages and disadvantages?

What Is Aniline Leather

In order for us to know how it is different from other leather, we must first know what is aniline leather. All leather starts the same. From raw animal skin. Specifically, those that come from cows, pigs and, goats start as pure aniline leather. Accordingly, there are three main types of leather: Aniline leather, semi aniline leather, and pigmented leather. Among the three, aniline is considered as the "untouched" leather. From raw animal skin to leather, nothing is done to the material. No corrections were made to the skin. It, therefore, has the most natural form among all leather types. Making it the best type of leather available. Likewise, it is soft and gracefully supple. It can however get quite expensive.

Aniline leather also retains its natural feel. This is because real leather artisans do not apply any protective treatments or surface coating to the leather surface. It has a soft feel which is warm to the touch. It is a very breathable leather making it very comfortable to use.

What gives aniline leather its name is not the type of leather artisans use. The name comes from Aniline which is the type of dye artisans use in tanning the leather. You could say that aniline leather is not a type of leather. But a way to describe a very sensitive leather that absorbs moisture very well.

Aniline leather does not come from any animal skin. Making this type of leather requires only the highest quality of rawhide. It is also full grain leather because it still has the natural gain intact. It does have an imperfect appearance because of the natural grain. Typically some imperfections such as wrinkles, stretch marks, scars, natural marking, insect bites, and scratches are present. Over time, however, it will develop a beautiful patina.

What is Semi-Aniline Leather?

Another type of leather is semi-aniline. Both aniline leather and semi-aniline leather go through the same process. Unlike aniline, semi-aniline goes through a correcting process. During the tanning stage, the animal skin goes through some correcting. A machine grounds down the skin to give it a more even look and surface. This is the reason why you do not see many markings on semi-aniline leather.

semi-aniline leather

Additionally, semi-aniline does not use a translucent dye but is dyed using a pigment. This often changes the natural look of the leather giving it more color. Leather manufacturers often apply an extra layer of coloring to make it look more natural. Furthermore, unlike aniline leather, semi-aniline leather has a thin protective coating. This coating protects the leather from wear and stains.

How Aniline Leather is Made

First things first, aniline leather uses only the highest quality raw animal skin. Typically from cows, pigs, or goats. Aniline is a natural Napa leather because of its softness.

Typically, leather starts the same. From raw animal skin, it goes through the leather-making process. The first step is preparing the raw animal hide. Some animal skin goes through the process of splitting, sanding, and buffing before proceeding to the next phase. For aniline leather, we leave it as is. After cleaning and removing any hair from the skin we proceed to the next step.

The next step is the tanning stage. This is what makes aniline leather. There are different methods of tanning leather. Some might use the vegetable tanning method or chromium tanning method. For this particular type of leather, we will use aniline or aniline dye.

It is a translucent, water-soluble synthetic dye without any insoluble pigments. The leather is first tanned normally. Then the tanned animal hide is placed in a drum together with the aniline dye. It takes a little longer to make than most leather. Unlike other dyes, aniline does not change the color of the animal skin. Therefore being able to develop its patina still. Moreover, the dyeing process brings out the natural grain and all the imperfections of the animal skin.

Semi-aniline dyed leather on the other hand is just a bit different. Aside from bringing out the natural leather quality, it also gives it a more consistent color.

Duffel bag

Quality of Aniline Leather

It is soft and supple. Aniline leather is considered the highest quality leather. However, much of its quality is because of its demanding leather-making process. Aniline leather uses only soluble dyes. The dyeing process takes place in a large wooden drum. The animal skin soaks under the soluble dyes until it turns into a desirable color. Using soluble dyes preserves the animal skin's natural surface. It likewise preserves the skin's natural infections.

However, not all types of animal skin are for this process. Only the highest quality of animal skin is appropriate for aniline leather. This is the main reason why the quality of aniline is very high. The reason for using high-quality leather exclusively is because of their unique trait. Most high-quality leather absorbs moisture very well. If you notice, aniline leather is not very uniform in color. This is because each area of the skin absorbs moisture differently. This gives aniline leather a more genuine look because of imperfections.

Another sign of aniline leather's quality is how it feels. Without any protective layering or coating on its surface, aniline leather is able to breathe well. Something that is quite important especially for leather upholstery, leather seats, and sofas.

The Appearance of Aniline Leather

Aniline leather is beautiful. Despite the visible imperfections, many consider its appearance to be quite aesthetically pleasing. The visible scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, insect bites, and other blemishes show the growth of the animal. Because every animal lives a different life, imperfections are rather unique and vary in many ways. Aniline leather also has a more natural color to it. The colors usually derive from the natural skin color of the animal. Furthermore, aniline dye is translucent, which barely affects the color of the skin. Moreover, other than its natural color, aniline leather also develops a patina. Over time it will become more beautiful.

What is aniline leather used for?

Leather has many uses. From shoes to bags, to clothing, and leather sofa and other leather furniture. However, not all types of leather are suited for every task. Especially when it comes to aniline leather. Aniline leather is suited only for luxurious accessories because of its natural look. It is commonly used for high-end furniture, clothing, leather accessories, and other luxury goods. This type of leather is not only beautiful but strong and durable as well. Some prefer to sport aniline leather because of its great strength and durability. And rarely enough, aniline leather can also be on bicycle saddles. However, they are likely to be on cars as car seats. This is because of its breathability and softness making them comfortable to sit on.

Products Aniline Leather Is Commonly Used For

This type of excellent leather is commonly used for luxury items. Because it is incredibly breathable, we can find aniline leather mostly on car seats. Breathable leather is soft and flexible without being weak. It is therefore perfect for those who like a comfortable seat.

However fancy cars are not the only place for this leather. You may also find this leather in someone's living room. It may be in a form of a sofa, on accent chairs, recliners, or swivels. Furniture not only has to look beautiful but comfortable as well.

Other common uses for aniline leather are leather accessories and other luxury goods. They are usually high-end, great quality leather bags, briefcases, or wallets. The durability and strength of the leather are perfect for tough uses. Leather bags that are usually made of full grain leather like aniline leather are tough. They last long and do not wear and tear easily.

Advantages

There are many advantages to this high-quality leather. The reason for being such a sought-after leather is because of its many great qualities. It is made of full grain leather. The layer that has the most fibers. It is strong as any leather can be. It is likewise durable because of the tightly packed leather fibers. This type of leather not only holds out on wearing and tearing but also the test of time. However, it is not only strong but soft and flexible as well. Unlike most full grain leather, aniline is easier to work and manipulate.

Of course, its appearance is also one of its great advantages. Because of the presence of natural grain, something beautiful happens. A patina develops over time as the leather absorbs body oils. Patina is beautiful and unique only to leather coming from full grain. It is something that usually gives off that vintage aesthetic. Something that attracts people over to leather greatly.

Disadvantages

Aniline leather is not perfect. Even after all those great qualities, this leather also has its downside. One of the biggest disadvantages when it comes to full grain leathers is the price. Aniline leather is no exception. Great quality leather also comes with a great cost in manufacturing and the raw materials. Aniline leather in particular requires only the best raw hides out there. Many of these things factor into aniline leather's high price tag.

Other than its price, this type of leather also has disadvantages against the elements. The leather typically fades when in contact with direct sunlight. It also stains and marks very easily. Many therefore suggest not to use aniline leather on households with young children and pets. As much as it is a great leather, it is not invincible against the elements and kids!

How To Care For Aniline Leather

aniline leather

The bad news is that aniline leather easily stains, marks, and fades. The good news is, that there is a way to prevent such things from happening. The answer is proper care and maintenance. Proper and frequent care and maintenance are what keeps your leather in great condition and appearance. Not only will the leather look clean but well-nourished and strong as well. But how do you take care of aniline leather?

Taking care of aniline leather will require more effort unlike other types of leather. To prevent the leather from stains, marks, and fading you will need to apply a protective leather product. You must however need to clean the leather first every time you apply any protectants. Cleaning leather is a delicate process. You must need the right tools, the right cleaning agents, leather cleaner, and the gentlest of touch. You must also remember not to submerge the leather in water as that will ruin it. In cleaning, you will focus on removing any body oils and dirt from the surface of the leather. It is best to do this regularly. To keep the leather in its best condition, you will need to moisturize it with a good leather conditioner. This will prevent the leather from drying out and cracking.

Semi-aniline leather on the other hand is much easier to maintain. You can use water-based semi-aniline leather cleaners or a bar of gentle soap and distilled water to clean it.

Difference Between Aniline Leather and Semi-aniline Leather

When it comes to the manufacturing process, the two are almost similar. The only difference is when it comes to applying the dye. Aniline leather uses aniline or aniline dye.

A translucent, water-soluble synthetic dye without any insoluble pigments. Semi-aniline on the other hand uses a pigment to dye the leather. This gives the leather an even and uniform surface.

There is also a difference in their qualities. The semi-aniline being the inferior one. Because semi-aniline leather goes through a correcting process it will have likely lost most of the strong fibers found on the natural grain. It is not as strong nor as durable as the full aniline leather. The great thing about semi-aniline is that it does not stain as easily as full aniline leather. it is therefore kid and pet friendly. A great choice especially when you will have your leather at home.

An obvious difference between the two will always be the price tag. Aniline leather will be more expensive than semi-aniline. Its quality however justifies its costs most of the time.

Difference Between Aniline and Top Grain

The difference between the two rests on their different characteristics. Both types of leather belong at the top of the list however they differ in a few aspects.

Top grain leather is more affordable than aniline leather because of the difference in raw materials used. Aniline leather uses only the highest quality rawhides that are full grain. Top grain on the other hand uses the layer below full grain after it has been split. Aniline leather is also full of imperfections because it does not go through a correcting process. Top grain on the other hand has a more uniform appearance. Bothe are different from corrected grain leather.

When it comes to durability, top grain is superior to aniline and semi-aniline. This is because top grain typically has a polymer coating making it more durable. It also does not fade as much as aniline leather because of the coating. Top grain is also easier to maintain than full aniline leather.

Is aniline leather the same as grain leather?

Vintage Leather Backpack

No, both actually refer to different terms. Aniline leather best describes leather that has been dyed with aniline dye. It also refers to leather that is soft, soft, and easily absorbs moisture.

The natural grain on the other hand refers to the layer of the animal skin or rawhide. This layer specifically contains the most fibers that make the leather strong, durable, and most of the time, though.

Both of them are completely different terms that describe leather in a specific way. You can however describe aniline leather as having natural grain. This is because most if not all aniline leather is from full grain, which is natural grain.

Is Aniline leather good quality?

Yes, however, not only is aniline leather good quality leather, it is great quality leather. It is among the top if not the top types of leather out there. It is strong and durable yet soft and flexible. The leather is also beautiful because it shows the many imperfections of the rawhide. Aniline leather, therefore, has a unique look to it. Moreover, it gets more beautiful over time because of the developing patina.

Does aniline leather peel?

Aniline leather does not peel because the aniline dye is able to permeate the leather. It will therefore not rub off or peel. It will however slowly fade when in contact with direct sunlight, unlike semi-aniline. The major difference between the two is that semi-aniline leather has a protective coating whereas aniline leather does not.


https://steelhorseleather.com/blogs/the-journal/aniline-leather

Genuine Leather: What Is Genuine Leather?

Of course, we all know that leather has many different types. With each of these types comes varying strengths, durability, and overall quality. To name a few, there are full-grain leather, top-grain leather, and genuine leather. Knowing the different types of leather is important whenever you consider buying one. Knowing their different qualities will also make it easier to choose which to buy. In this article, we will be focusing on a very common type of leather. It is the type of leather that you see in most leather products in stores and malls. This leather can be on shoes, belts, and even wallets. They call this leather Genuine Leather. What is genuine leather and how is it different from other types of leather? What the advantages and disadvantages of genuine leather? Let us have a look!

Genuine Leather Rucksack
The Asmund Backpack

What Does “Genuine Leather” Really Mean?

You are at the department store, you take a look at a leather belt, leather shoes, leather furniture, leather sofa, or even a sleek-looking leather jacket. Taking a closer look, you see right on the leather it says "genuine leather" or "made with genuine leather". You look at the price and it's cheap too! Buying a genuine leather product sound like a great deal right? However, we are sorry to burst your bubble, but this leather is not the best of the best. Nor is it a great leather.

We do however want to set the record straight. If you are looking for real leather then you are on the right track. Genuine leather is indeed real leather. This means that the material comes from real animal skin or that there is some kind of leather in the material. While its quality comes nowhere near full-grain leather or top-grain leather, it is still from real animal skin.

Confused? Continue to read this article to know more about this fascinating leather.

How is Genuine Leather Made?

From the get-go, we must accept the fact that genuine leather is not as strong when comparing with full grain or top grain leather. While it does come from real animal hide, it does not come from the best parts of the hide. The reason lies behind or underneath the animal hide. The hide has many layers, each layer with different qualities. The strongest and toughest belong to the outermost layer of the skin. This is where the natural grain is. Oftentimes, the skin may be too tough and too thick to work with. Leather artisans, therefore, split the leather into layers. Of course, the outermost layer will still be the strongest and toughest. The layer underneath it is what we call "top-grain". And likewise what is beneath it will have lower quality like suede or nubuck.

Making genuine leather can be tricky. Most of the time it comes from split leather, usually from the intermediate layers. For example, are those between top grain and suede. However, any layer of the hide can be turned into genuine leather. That is what makes this type of leather unique.

These different layers and pieces of leather go through a correcting process or treatment. Usually because of imperfections on the outer layer of the skin. Hence why genuine leather is sometimes referred to as corrected leather.

This will give the leather a more uniform appearance. It usually goes through the process of sanding or buffing to remove any impurities. The leather is then dyed or spray painted to finish its look. This process however changes and alters many of the preferable qualities of leather. It is therefore the reason why it is inferior to full grain and top grain.

Quality of Genuine Leather

The good thing about this leather is that it is leather. Or to say it correctly, it is real leather. Real and genuine leather may sound the same but they have different meanings. Real means that it comes from animal skin. Genuine on the other hand refers to the type of leather.

Of the various types of leather, it is at the bottom of the list when it comes to quality. In comparison to full-grain leather and top grain leather, it is definitely an inferior product. It is not as strong nor as durable. Therefore its longevity is questionable. It is likewise not as strong against wear and tear. This leather however may give off a strong first impression because of its uniform leather appearance. However, if you are looking for high-quality and long-lasting leather, this is not the best choice.

Genuine Leather Messenger Bag
The Viggo Briefcase

The Appearance Genuine Leather

Leather is not only great for its strength and durability. Many consider owning leather because of its great appearance. The appearance will depend on the type of leather. For example, top-grain leather has a refined and uniform look, like the leather we usually see. Full-grain leather on the other hand develops a beautiful appearance called the patina. While suede and nubuck have a fuzzy appearance, that is velvety to touch. What does genuine leather look like?

Perception vs Reality

Genuine leather will typically look like top grain leather. It will have a very uniform and smooth appearance. However, genuine leather may come in a variety of appearances depending on how it is manufactured. You can therefore say that this type of leather has no consistent appearance. It is therefore important to know how to identify what is genuine leather and what is not. Because while it looks like top grain leather, in reality, it is not. It is inferior in quality to what top grain leather looks like.

However, if you have no problems with quality then this type of leather is a great choice.

What Products is Genuine Leather Used For?

Genuine leather has become a catch-all term for non-high grade leather. Amazingly there is a diversity of uses for this fascinating leather. Likewise, there is a wide selection of products that comes from this type of leather. From purses to shoes, leather bag, briefcases and, even belts, all of these may come from genuine leather. What all of these products have in common is the quality. Understandably, you won't find them in high-end leather retail stores. Rather you will commonly find them in department stores, malls, or stores that sell cheap shoes. However, the different uses of this type of leather are not just to shoes, bags, etc.


What are the Advantages of Genuine Leather?

To be fair, just because genuine leather is inferior does not mean it has no advantages of its own. In comparison to full-grain leather, top grain leather, suede, etc., there are quite a few areas that genuine leather shines. The best example would be on the price. Genuine leather is cheaper, it is affordable. When comparing it with other types of leather, especially with full-grain leather, a huge difference in price is clear.

Another advantage is how the leather looks and feels. For those who do not want to invest in high-quality, high-end leather but still have the same amazing leather aesthetic. It is also easy to care for and maintain. Although it does not last long, proper care will extend its life.

What are the Disadvantages of Genuine Leather?

Obviously, this type of leather belongs on the lower side of the list. In strength, durability, and overall quality, it is inferior. Likewise, time, different elements, and frequent use will wear and tear the leather down. You may notice that cracks and stretch marks will eventually appear.

The biggest disadvantage however does not come with the leather itself. Uninformed or uneducated consumers may easily be tricked into buying low-quality leather at a high price. This is not alarming since genuine leather and top grain leather look alike. It is, therefore, best to read on how to identify leather before dishonest sellers overcharge you for it.

Genuine Vintage Leather Backpack
The Helka Backpack

Understanding Grades of Leather

Different types of leather over different characteristics. Whether on strength, durability, toughness, appearance, texture, etc. They are often graded according to their quality. Understanding the different grades of leather is important especially when you consider buying one for yourself.

How is leather graded?

Grading typically starts with the rawhide or animal skin. The grading will depend on the quality of the animal skin and how it has been split. This is important especially for tanneries who process the skin into leather. Knowing exactly the quality of leather that they are receiving and working with is important for consistency in quality.

There are usually inspectors who grade the rawhides. They particularly look for imperfections on the skin. Imperfections such as holes, deep cuts, scars, large abrasions, and discoloration. They will also look at any machine damage from skinning the process or any remaining hair on the skin. Grain inconsistencies are also a factor in grading.

Surface treatment and how the tanning process goes is also a factor in grading. For example, whether or not the skin has gone through sanding or buffing. Or whether the skin goes through vegetable tanning or chromium tanning or aniline leather. Conclusively, the leather is graded after the final product is presented and this creates the various leather grades

Types of Leather

Different types of leather give us different qualities of leather. Here are a few of the different types of leather.

Full-grain leather

Most consider full-grain at the highest quality leather. This type of leather contains the outer layer of the hide or as many refer to as the "grain". The grain contains most of the strong fibers of the animal skin. This is therefore the reason why full-grain is strong and durable because of the fibers. It does however make the leather tough. Moreover, full-grain is full of imperfection because of the grain. These imperfections however are deliberate since full-grain does not go through the sanding or buffing process. It does develop a patina which gives off that vintage leather look.

Top-grain leather

Top-grain is similar to the full-grain except for the top layer of the skin that goes through sanding or buffing to remove any imperfections. Removing the grain will also affect the overall quality of the leather. It is less durable and weaker than full-grain but is still high-quality leather. Moreover, top-grain has a more refined look in comparison to full grain. It is therefore more visually appealing since has a uniform appearance. It is also softer than full-grain because the grain is out of the picture.

Genuine leather

Unlike full-grain, genuine leather can come from any layer of the animal's skin. However, they usually use the layers below the grain since the grain will go through the treatment process. This process usually involves sanding or buffing out the skin to remove any imperfection, it is then dyed or spray painted to give it its final appearance. This process is usually referred to as correcting the leather.

Bonded leather

Bonded leather a mix of different kinds of leather that are attached to each other. The materials are often from shredded leather scraps and leather fibers. They are held together by bonding materials that unify them into a singular fabric. Bonded leather is sometimes a mix of real leather and fake leather. Many call it reconstituted leather because it comes from scraps. Sometimes referred to as blended or split grain leather as well.

Corrected Grain Leather

This type of leather is very similar if not the same to genuine leather. In that, the animal skin goes through the same correcting process of sanding or buffing. The sanded layer is then given an artificial grain to make it appear genuine.

Moreover, it got its name because of the process which is to correct any imperfections on the bare skin. Imperfections such as scars, bug bites, and blemishes. Removing that layer means to correct the leather thus its name. It is then stamped with a fake grain.

Patent Leather

Bonded leather a mix of different kinds of leather that are attached to each other. The materials are often from shredded leather scraps and leather fibers. They are held together by bonding materials that unify them into a singular fabric. Bonded leather is sometimes a mix of real leather and fake leather. Many call it reconstituted leather because it comes from scraps. Sometimes referred to as blended leather as well.

PU Leather

PU leather or Polyurethane leather is fake leather. It does not come from animal skin but an imitation of it. It has often had a leather look but sometimes has a synthetic feel to it. PU leather is also not as strong nor as durable as real leather. However, it does have the advantage of not involving any animals in the process. It is often marketed as Vegan Leather

Price vs. Quality - Full Grain Leather or Genuine Leather?

In buying leather there is always this common dilemma. Risk a lower quality leather for a cheaper and more affordable price or buy a higher quality leather for a much steeper price. There is always the temptation to buy something cheaper and affordable, especially when leather looks high-end. However, taking a risk on quality for the price might not always be the best decision. Investing in very expensive leather is not always wise either. While great quality, such as strength and durability can be great selling points, prices often discourage buyers.

Ultimately, you will ask yourself one question: "is it worth it?"

Make an Informed Decision

Many consider purchasing leather as an investment, and there will always be risks. That is why it is important to make an informed decision before buying one. To make the most out of your purchase it is important to know what you are looking for. There are many things to consider whenever you buy leather. First should be the price. Of course, you can spend daydreaming of the highest quality but you cannot even afford it. Look for the types of leather that are within your range.

Next, is to look for the type that you want. Always consider the risk of quality and price. It is also important to know how to identify the different types of leather. Mostly to avoid any scams or overcharging. There are many ways to identify leather, the most common way is to use your sense. Have a look at the leather, feel it, and even take a whiff at it. You may also check the label whether it is made with genuine leather or polyurethane.

Genuine Vintage Leather Minimalist Backpack

How to Tell if Your Product is Genuine Leather

Telling if your product is genuine leather is important for two reasons. First, you have a way of identifying lower quality leather from high-quality leather among natural leather products. For example, you are looking for top grain, but genuine leather will also have the same appearance. The second is when you want to avoid any fake leather products. While genuine leather is inferior to full grain and top grain, it not as bad when compared to faux leather. Here are some tips to tell if your product is genuine leather or not.

Be wary of any product that doesn't specifically claim to be real leather.

For genuine leather, there is usually a label that specifies it is "made from" or "made with" genuine leather. They usually come from real leather and therefore not fake leather.

Using your senses

Trying to avoid fake leather can be a tough challenge. However, if you take a smell at the fake leather you will notice a smell. Most of the time it is fake leather if it has a plastic-y or chemical-y smell to it. Real leather usually has a musty smell.

The edges do not lie

Using your sense of touch and sight, you can also identify real leather from fake. While it is not conclusive, most of the time real leather has rough edges. Fake leather usually has even, perfect edges.

Moisture

I do not know if you are allowed to do this at stores but dropping a small amount of water also helps. Real leather naturally absorbs moisture while moisture usually rolls off on fake leather. We are not telling you to do this because moisture can ruin the leather. This is merely a tip or a trick.

Bending the Leather

Bending the leather can test the leather's strength and durability. However, it also tells whether the leather is real or fake. A slight bend will slightly change the color in real leather. Fake leather will have no change.

The Fire Test

We are pretty sure you are not allowed to do this in stores however if you are at home you can try. The fire test will likely ruin a good part of your leather so be sure to test it on the underside or a hard-to-see area. Simply hold a flame up to the leather for 3-5 seconds. If there is only a slight char then you have real leather. You will also notice a smell similar to burnt hair. If the leather catches on fire (whoops) then you have fake leather. Obviously, it will smell like burning plastic because it is made from polyurethane.

The Price

Real leather is rarely cheap. It is expensive for a reason. Even lower quality leather, like genuine leather, is more valuable than fake leather. This is not conclusive! Watch out for scams. This is why it is important to use the other tips we have mentioned.

Leather Travel Toiletry Bag
The Nomad Toiletry Bag


How To Care For Genuine Leather

Knowing how to take care of leather is very important. Whether you have high-quality full grain or top grain leather or low-quality genuine leather you need to take care of it. Proper care and maintenance will not only keep the leather clean but extend its life. This is true even for low-quality leather. And because it is susceptible to wear and tear, proper care and maintenance are very important.

Luckily genuine leather is very easy to clean and maintain. Giving the leather a fair chance to extend its life. Cleaning it simply requires a damp cloth to wipe down any dust, dirt, and grime. Because it is so easy to clean and maintain you can also do it regularly, especially when you are in a dusty area. No matter how easy it is to clean always wipe it down gently to avoid damaging the leather. It is also important to remember to use a damp cloth. Do not use a wet cloth and do not submerge it in water. Make sure to wipe it dry afterward.

Another way to take care of genuine leather is to polish it. Polishing it moisturizes the leather to keep it from drying and cracking. You can also apply leather conditioners or creams to your genuine leather. Conditioners nourish the leather and also prevent it from cracking or drying out. Unlike leather polish, leather conditioners will not give the leather a shine. However, it will give your leather more protection.

Questions to Answer

What is the difference between genuine leather and bonded leather?

Bonded leather comes from gathering different leather scraps that are shredded and bonded together like paper. Genuine leather on the other hand suggests that there is real leather used in making the product. It is often used as a label to describe a general type of leather. The two therefore will differ depending on how you use the term and how you mean to use them. Most of the time, genuine leather is a meaningless or ambiguous phrase, something that is used for marketing.

Is Genuine Leather the cheapest quality that is available?

It depends on how you use the term genuine leather. Genuine leather can mean real leather. If we are talking about real leather then full grain and top grain and other types are included. However, for marketing, genuine leather usually refers to inexpensive leather that is made with real animal skin.

Is “Genuine Leather” the best quality of leather?

No, it is not. Many consider full-grain leather as the best quality leather because of its strength, durability, and beautiful patina. It also has the longest life of all leather.

Why do some people say Genuine Leather is the poorest quality leather?

It is the poorest quality of leather when you compare it to other real leathers. This is mainly because it goes through the correcting process. This process will make the final product look more appealing however it negatively affects the overall quality of the leather.

Is genuine leather good quality?

Genuine leather is good in comparison to other inexpensive leather. It is great, especially when compared to fake leather.

How did “genuine leather” get its name?

The term “genuine leather” can mean a lot of things. It can be broad, like when trying to identify leather that comes from real animal skin. Synonymous to real leather. It can also be used in a specific way, such as describing the type of leather that has gone through a correction process.

How to tell if leather is genuine?

You can tell if the leather is genuine in more ways than one. You can either check the price or the label to see if it is genuine or not. Using your senses also helps. Get intimate with the leather. Take a closer look, feel it, and smell it. You may also use different tests to find out if it is fake leather or genuine leather. Test such as dropping a small amount of water or exposing the leather to fire.

Does genuine leather last long?

It will mostly depend on how you use it. Proper care and maintenance also play a great deal. Take care of it and it will last longer than expected.


https://steelhorseleather.com/blogs/the-journal/genuine-leather

What is Nubuck Leather? | Nubuck vs Suede

Nubuck leather. Maybe you have heard of it maybe you haven't. If you are not familiar with leather then you might mistake Nubuck leather for something similar, such as suede. However, different types of leather have different types of characteristics and qualities. A great example is Nubuck Leather. Let us get to know more about Nubuck leather and how it is similar and different from other leather such as suede. We will also know its uses and how to clean the leather. Continue to read the article to know more about this fascinating leather.

Nubuck Leather
Nubuck LeatherNubuck

What is Nubuck Leather?

Nubuck leather is the type of leather that has uses for a wide variety of leather products. It is a great leather and is usually high quality. Its quality and characteristics are a mix of finer qualities from various types of leather. The nubuck leather has a great look and an even greater feel to it.

If you are unfamiliar with nubuck leather then you might want to refer to suede. Suede and Nubuck leather are very similar in look and feel. However, they do have their differences such as in durability. Nubuck is far durable because it comes from the outer side or outer layer of the leather hide. The side, which is typically stronger and more durable. Moreover, nubuck typically comes from the top grain layer of the hide making it a high-quality leather. Other leather similar to nubuck is chrome dyed leather and vegetable leather.

You may likewise see Nubuck leather in various colors. Its uses typically included leather clothes and other personal leather. You can usually find this great fabric on nubuck boots and leather shoes. You may also find them in jackets, gloves, and other personal accessories.

Nubuck Leather clothing

Look and Feel of Nubuck

If you have not seen nubuck leather, you might want to refer to how suede looks like. Like suede, the nubuck surface has a fuzzy and/or velvety texture to it. It is smooth to touch as well. This is referred to as the "nap" of the protein fibers. The nubuck look and feel is popularly recognizable in boots. Unlike, suede and leather, however, nubuck does not develop its patina well. Nubuck is the type of leather that needs a lot of tender loving care to look and feel good over time.

What is Suede?

Suede and nubuck have their similarities and their differences. Similarly, suede is the type of leather that has gone through the process of sanding. The sanding process gives the suede its iconic feel and touch. However, while both go through the same sanding process, suede comes from the inner layer of the calfskin. The nubuck on the other hand comes from the outside layer. Both however usually comes from the top-grain layer of the animal skin.

Suede is not like your normal leather. It is usually the outer part of the animal skin which goes through the process. A common analogy that people make to illustrate is bread. Imagine animal skin like a crust of bread. Making leather is typically from the crust or the outer part. However, for suede, manufacturers turn the "bread" inside out. The inside is softer however it is less durable. The finished leather product usually has a fluffy texture. It is however more porous than other types of leather. This is the reason why water and other liquids usually stain suede.

Look and Feel of Suede

Suede is a common fabric. You might have seen it once or twice. It is soft, smooth leather and, flexible, and pliable. But most of all it has this iconic velvety feel when you touch it. Suede, like most leather, also comes in a wide variety of colors. Suede also has different uses from furniture to clothing. Historically, the word phrase comes from the French phrase " gants de Suede " or gloves from Sweden. This is because suede was primarily used for items that usually have direct contact with the body. Items of clothing like gloves and the liner in boots. However, these days you can usually find suede on almost any furniture or suits. Unlike nubuck, taking care of suede will develop a patina over time.

Are Nubuck and Suede the same thing?

At first glance, nubuck leather and suede might look similar. They may also feel similar as well. Both also go through the process of sanding. And likewise does not naturally hold up to getting wet. Regardless of their similarities, they are not the same thing. They have their differences, such as the materials, the feel, and the price.

For example, while both are a product of the top grain layer they do not have the same durability. Nubuck is more durable because it uses the outer layer of the hide. Suede on the other hand is less durable because it uses the weaker inner layer. As to feel, while they both have that velvety touch, there is a slight difference. For example, suede has significantly coarser leather fibers than nubuck. While nubuck on the other hand has very fine leather fibers. There is also a significant price difference between the two. While both feel and look similar, their price differs. Nubuck being the more expensive one.

leather bag
The Langley Backpack

How Nubuck Leather is made

The making of the Nubuck Leathers historically comes from buckskin of deer or elk. These types of animal hide were popular around the beginning of the 1930s in the United States Market. Primarily, this type of leather was not very popular not successful. It was only when the Duke of Windsor introduced the Nubuck style and look during his royal visit did the leather took off. The Duke was wearing a pair of nubuck leather oxfords which caught the attention of many.

To actually make the nubuck leather is another story. While this type of leather was historically made out of buckskin, some use calfskin as an easier alternative. Calfskin is easy to get and there is an abundance of it. To make the nubuck, leather manufacturers use the outer layer of the calfskin. You should note that the outer layer that they are using is the top-grain or full-grain layer. This means it is high-quality material. The outside of the skin then goes through a sanding process. This gives the leather a velvet-like finish. We use the outer layer of the animal skin because it is tougher than the inner part. It is also more resilient than the inner layer. This is logically why Nubuck is more durable than suede. It is likewise the reason why nubuck is more expensive than suede.

For additional information, the inner layer is what makes suede. While on the other hand, the outer layer is what makes nubuck. Moreover, since nubuck is sanded from the outside, it may leave some imperfection to its appearance. While some prefer to leave the imperfection because it gives the leather "character" some also choose to hide it away. To hide these imperfections the manufacturers often dye or stain the leather.

Caring for Nubuck

Like all types of leather, nubuck also needs some tender loving care. Taking care of your leather will not only keep it clean, but it will also make it last longer. Cleaning leather can often be a hassle. While it is regarded as a strong material, cleaning it is a different story. For example, leather is very delicate to water and cleaning agents. Exposing it for too long on water or using strong cleaning agents may damage the leather. Proper technique and tools are necessary for taking care of nubuck leather. Although nubuck is easy to clean. Simple use a suede brush, nubuck brush, or a soft bristle brush to do the job.

To care for your nubuck leather does not only mean how to clean it. It should likewise include how to store and use the leather properly. Exposing the leather to certain elements for a long period of time may ruin the leather. Allow your leather to be in a cool dry place, especially when not in use.

Of course, if you wish to keep your leather as long as possible, you will need to condition it. Nubuck like all leather is organic. Use and exposure to elements my dry out the fibers. Dried-out leather fibers will most likely lead to peeling or tearing of the leather. To revitalize the leather, proper and timely use of a leather conditioner is necessary. This will keep nubuck soft and supple for a longer time. Of course, leather care also includes leather protectors. While conditioners keep the leather nourished, a leather protector protects the leather from different elements. Conditioning and protecting are very important for nubuck leather care.

Backpack/ Messenger Bag
The Gustav Messenger Bag

How to store Nubuck Leather

Exposure to certain elements will definitely ruin your leather. Properly storing your nubuck will make a huge difference. Like most leather nubuck does not fair well with water or any liquids nor any moisture. Nubuck leather should therefore be stored in a dark, cool dry place away from any water or any liquids.

Nubuck should likewise be stored away from direct sunlight. Especially when sunlight hits the leather for a long period of time. Sunlight might dry out the leather and make it more susceptible to tearing and peeling. If exposure cannot be avoided make sure to keep it at a minimum. It is also important to regularly condition the nubuck if it is frequently exposed, such as when there is no proper storing space.

Preferably leather should be stored in a dark, cool dry place. However, some leather goods such as bags and shoes often offer special bags or containers to store the leather. These containers or bags keep the leather shaded and protected. Not only does it protect the leather from sunlight and water, but it also keeps it dust-free as well. They are great investments especially when you frequently travel or have no storing space.

Cleaning Nubuck

How do you clean nubuck leather? Unlike other types of leather, nubuck has a velvety surface. Full-grain leather, top-grain leather, and other leathers on the other hand are often smooth. Is the cleaning process the same or is there a special way to clean nubuck leather and possibly suede? More importantly, what are the dos ad don'ts in cleaning these types of leather?

How to Clean Nubuck (Keeping Nubuck Leather soft, supple, and shiny)

Unlike other types of leather, cleaning nubuck leather is fairly easy. While other types of leather require clean dry cloths, damp cloth, and the right leather cleaner, nubuck leather is simple. All that you will need is a brush with soft bristles. Simple use the brush to get rid of any dirt, dust, soiling, or grime that can get caught in the fibers. Nubuck is a very low-maintenance leather. You will still have to handle the cleaning with care. Always make sure to be gentle when brushing so as to not damage anything. We recommend you use a brass-bristle brush to keep your nubuck leather clean. You do not have to brush the leather every time you use it. You may do it regularly, even when not in use.

For stains, eraser blocks, or just a regular pencil eraser will do the job. And on the occasion that you get your nubuck leather wet, dry it as quickly as possible. You may air dry it afterward. Make sure to air dry it in a cool and dry area.

How often should I clean Nubuck Leather?

The "every time you use it" rule does not necessarily apply to nubuck or any other type of leather to be exact. You may clean it as often as you want. It is important to clean it regularly, even when you have not used it. However, if the nubuck is dirty after every use, you may logically want to clean it after every use as well. Proper and frequent cleaning will benefit the nubuck in the long run.

Is Nubuck Leather easy to clean?

Nubuck is very easy to clean. Unlike other leather types, nubuck can be clean with a simple brush. No need for those leather cleaning products. Simply give the nubuck a gentle brush to remove whatever dirt or grime it has on. For liquid stains, erasers usually do the job. Be sure not to use any water. And if on the occasion that the nubuck gets wet, dry it as soon as you can. Nubuck is a low-maintenance leather do not be afraid to purchase or use one. If you ever need tips you can always come back to this article.

Conditioning & Protecting Nubuck Leather

Conditioning and protection are important for all types of leather. To keep your nubuck looking good and feeling good, proper maintenance is necessary. But what do conditioning and protection mean?

Leather is organic. It has fibers that make it strong and keep it together. It is also what gives the leather its colour. However, after a certain period of time and use, these fibers become weak. This is mostly due to the leather losing oils that serve as nutrients for the fibers. Exposure to elements, use, and time is usually the main causes. Conditioning therefore basically refers to replenishing any oil that the leather loses. Protection on the other hand aims to prevent or minimize the damage that certain elements may cause to the leather.

How do you condition nubuck? Nubuck is a low-maintenance leather. Frequent conditioning is not necessary. However if the nubuck does become stiff, you may apply a conditioning product to return its soft and velvety touch. Most use mink oil in conditioning leather. Lightly apply the conditioning product on a soft dry cloth. Do not apply it directly to the leather. Moreover, you should only use a small amount as mink oil will darken the leather. It is also important to do a spot test before applying the conditioner all over the nubuck leather.

For leather protection, leather protectors are usually available. They usually come in the form of a spray. Leather protectors protect nubuck against dirt and moisture.

Leather Briefcase
The Viggo Briefcase

Disadvantages of Nubuck Leather

Nubuck has many advantages. It is a durable, soft, and breathable fabric. Nubuck is also a low-maintenance leather with upkeeping and cleaning. Moreover, unlike suede, nubuck will return to its original color whenever it gets wet. You will just have to wait until the nubuck dries. While it has its advantages, it is also important to know what are its disadvantages.

The main problem with nubuck is with oil, grime, dirt, and even mud. If you are planning to use nubuck, make sure you keep it away from those we mentioned. Otherwise, the oil, grime, dirt, and mud will likely stain the leather. If you have nubuck leather shoe or suede shoes, it is probably best to avoid wearing them around the park or local nature reserves. They are however great to wear on the street or at work.

Nubuck Color Restoration

Nubuck leather will eventually fade over time. To restore its color, you will need to apply some renovating spray for nubuck or suede. If you have no experience in restoring its color here are a few steps to do it.

First, you will need some tools. You will need a nubuck brush for cleaning the leather. An old toothbrush may be used as an alternative. Make sure to have two brushes. One for cleaning and one for washing. You will also need a regular eraser for scratches, some soap, a bowl, and an old towel. Paper towels or old newspapers may also be used as alternatives. Of course, you will also need some nubuck renovator spray in the desired color.

The first step is to brush the nubuck clean. If there are stubborn stains present you may use your eraser to remove them. If erasers do not remove the stains you can try and wash them with mild soap. Brush the stains in a gentle circular motion. Afterward, you may dry the nubuck. You may air dry the leather, however, to speed up the process you may use an old towel to wipe it dry. Next is to recolor the nubuck. Use the renovating spray in the desired color. The spray will also protect the leather from water and stains. Make sure to use the spray in a well-ventilated area. You may want to apply a couple of coats to get the desired shade. Next is to let the spray dry. After it has dried you may brush the leather with a soft brush.

You have now successfully restored your nubuck leather. Give yourself a pat on the back. That was not as difficult as it seems does it?

The Nomad Toiletry Bag

Nubuck Leather FAQ’s

Here are questions that people frequently ask about Nubuck leather. Maybe there are questions that are similar to yours.

Is nubuck leather real leather?

Nubuck is real leather. In fact, nubuck either comes from full grain or top grain (however usually they are from top grain layer). Historically nubuck leather comes from buckskin (either from deer or elks). However nubuck these days are made from calfskin. Nonetheless, it is real leather.

What is the difference between leather and nubuck leather?

Probably the main difference between leather and nubuck leather is its appearance and feel. Leather, such as full grain leather and top grain leather has a smooth surface. Nubuck on the other hand has a smooth, velvety texture. Nubucks have fine bristles, which gives them a unique texture. The leather on the other hand has none. You can easily distinguish the two just by sight and feel.

Is nubuck leather durable?

Nubuck leather is durable. In fact, it is more durable in comparison to suede. Nubuck is made from top grain layer of the calfskin. The top grain contains strong fibers which give the leather its strength and durability. It is more durable than suede due to a slight difference. Suede is made from the inner layer of the animal skin while Nubuck comes from the outer layer. The outer layer is more stronger.

Does nubuck leather need waterproofing?

Like leather, nubuck is naturally water-resistant. However, it is resistant only to a small amount. Although it is optional, you may waterproof your nubuck leather. Leather protectants usually offer water protection sprays for quick and easy application.

What happens if nubuck gets wet?

Like suede, nubuck turns dark whenever it gets wet. However, unlike suede, nubuck will eventually return to its original colors as soon as it dries.

Is nubuck leather easy to clean?

Nubuck leather is very easy to clean. Unlike other leather types, nubuck merely requires a brush to clean itself. You may use a special nubuck brush or nubuck cloth and even a nubuck cleaner for better results. The nubuck brush also has soft bristles, to avoid damaging the leather when cleaning.

Is nubuck hard to maintain?

Nubuck is not hard to maintain. In fact, nubuck leather is known for being a low-maintenance leather. It merely needs a brush to clean. It also does not require frequent conditioning.

Can I polish nubuck leather?

If you are planning on cleaning your nubuck shoes a good brush or cloth wipe is all that it needs. Using a shoe polish on nubuck is not advisable. Nubuck is too rough and absorbent for shoe polish. You will end up ruining the nubuck if you try to apply any polish to it.

How do you get scratches out of nubuck leather?

Getting scratches out of nubuck leather is easy. You will only need an easier block or even the eraser from your pencil. Gently rub the eraser on the scratched surface to remove it.


https://steelhorseleather.com/blogs/the-journal/nubuck-leather

Napa Leather | What is Nappa Leather - Complete Guide

When you hear of "Napa" a different kind of thing might come into your mind. Maybe you picture the hot sun. Or maybe some vineyards. And maybe even different kinds of wine. You may be picturing the famous Napa Valley. However, there is also a different kind of napa. That is napa leather. If you are not familiar with it then this article might interest you. What are its natural characteristics and what are the pros and cons to owning one. We will also discuss how to properly take care of the leather.

leather duffel bag
The Endre Weekender

What Is Napa Leather?

This might be your first time hearing about Nappa leather. To be honest, there is no firm meaning of what actually is "napa". Napa leather is basically a term that people use to describe leather. It describes leather that is incredibly soft, smooth, and strong. However, since there is no clear definition of the term the other descriptions of the leather are broad. Napa leather can therefore range in thickness, finish, grain pattern, and color. Moreover, the animal where the leather comes from may also vary. Unlike, cowhide leather which comes from cow skin, or the Berkshire which comes from pigskin.

Furthermore, napa leather has different colors. Or more accurately, it is dyed in different colors. A variety of colors makes napa leather desirable and suitable for different uses. Napa leather also has various finishes. Finishing adds different characteristics to leather such as water and abrasion resistance.

It Is High-Quality Leather

Given that it is high-quality leather, napa leather usually comes from full-grain leather. Full-grain leather is the best of the best among all leather types. Unlike most leather types it still has its outer layer intact. This outer layer usually sanded or buffed to remove any imperfections. This outer layer is what we call "natural grain". The natural grain contains tightly packed fibers. This keeps the leather very strong and durable. Since napa leather is usually from full-grain leather, then it is likewise as strong and as durable.

Napa Leather or Nappa Leather - Which is it?

Technically the correct way to spell it is with one "p" or napa. However, the double "pp" or Nappa has become a popular way of spelling it over the years. Nonetheless, whether you spell it as napa or Nappa, people will understand what you are talking about either way. After all, it is just a term to describe leather. It not the strict meaning of the leather itself.

leather duffel bag
The Dagny Weekender

History of Napa/Nappa

In order for us to understand more about the napa name, let us understand its history.

Its history starts with the native American tribes. They roamed and lived prior to settlers moving in from Europe. During those times there were two tribes. The Wappo tribe and the Wapin tribe. When the nonnatives came and mixed with the locals they tried to pronounce local words. Napa is accordingly an English way of saying a native American local word. This local word inspired the name of a city. As such the city's name is the city of Napa. It was founded in 1847 and became Napa, California, after 1849.

However, prior to California's statehood, city-related documents have seemed to spell the location as Nappa, with two p's. However, after California's statehood, its spelling was Napa, with only one p. Conclusively, it would remain that way even during our modern times.

Who Invented Napa Leather?

He goes by the name of Emanuel Manasse. Manase was born in Germany in 1842 however he moved to the United States around 1984. He would first move to New Jersey then to Napa, California in 1871. Manasse was a son of a leather tanner in Germany. It was likely that he learned from his father about leather carrying on the family trade.

He was working as a leather tanner while in New Jersey. He was a leather tanner for the Swayer Tanning Company, founded in 1869. When he moved to Napa, California where he continued to be a leather tanner. It was around 1975, while at Napa when Manasse develops the Napa leather. The leather was soft, flexible, and very well suited for glove making. Since the leather was developed in Napa, many went on to call it Napa leather.

The soft and flexible high-quality leather became popular even outside Napa. Because of its success, Manasse would, later on, become a partner at the Swayer Tanning Company in 1880. He would lead a very rich and successful life because of the invention. The Napa leather would go on as a very well-known term in the leather world. Many people relate to it and refer to it as soft and flexible leather. It is also great for fine leather goods. Maybe the next time you think about Napa, it will not just be about wine.

How Is Napa Leather Made?

There are three main steps in turning animal skin into leather. They are preparing the animal hide, tanning the leather, and finishing the leather. In the first step, creating Nappa leather is no different from creating full grain and top grain leather. However, for top grain leather, the natural grain is sanded or buffed to remove any imperfection. The difference in creating napa leather in comparison to another leather type is because of the next step.

The tanning process is different in making Nappa leather. Making Nappa leather uses the chromium tanning process. It is faster than the natural method of tanning. The process involves using chemicals that breakdown the animal skin and turns it into the leather. Leather manufacturers use chromium or aluminum sulfate to tan the leather. These chemicals give the leather its softness. It also increases the leather's life span. This also makes the leather easier to clean since napa leather is dyed in water-soluble colorants. It is also easy to dust and it resists liquid spill better than other types of leather.

Napa leather is likewise beautiful and very appealing. Moreover, unlike other leather types, Nappa leather comes in different colors. Napa leather is therefore not only flexible and soft, but it is also beautiful as well. Because it is a beautiful and soft leather, napa leather is a popular choice for a car interior. More specifically it is a popular choice for luxury vehicles interiors because of its refined look and feel. Other than being soft, beautiful, and easy to clean, nappa leather interior also has an added benefit. If you struggle with upper respiratory conditions, Nappa leather is known for being hypoallergenic. This is highly beneficial especially inside closed spaces, like car seats or leather seats.

Leather backpack
The Asmund Backpack

Is Napa Leather Real Leather

The answer is yes. Napa leather is real leather. To be more specific it comes from either full grain or top grain leather. They differ only during the tanning process. Napa leather may therefore be as strong as full grain leather if it uses the same layer of animal skin as full grain. Regardless, it is real leather. But if it is real leather what animal does it come from? Napa leather typically comes from the skin of different animals such as calves, lambs, and kid goats. These animals usually have a more soft and flexible hide. Likewise, so does its finish product.

For additional information, Nappa leather is not "genuine leather" even if genuine leather is real leather. By definition, genuine leather comes from any layer of animal skin. The animal skin goes through treatment on its surface. The treatment will provide a more uniform and "corrected" appearance for the leather. The treatment usually involves sanding or buffing to remove any imperfections on its surface. Thereby giving the uniform look. The process also involves either dyeing, spray painting, stamping, or embossing to give the leather its final appearance.

Napa leather however often comes from full-grain leather. Being full grain leather it very high-quality premium leather. Sometimes you might find something like "Genuine Nappa Leather", which may be a little confusing. They are however merely marketing statements that refer to the leather as being Nappa leather. Which, if you remember is just a term to describe leather that is smooth, soft, and flexible.

What Is The Difference Between Leather and Nappa Leather?

There is barely a difference between the two. Leather is a general term. It refers to the material or fabric that comes from animal skin through the process of tanning. It may refer to the variety of types of leather and the different qualities of the material as well. On the other hand, Nappa leather is more of a specific term that describes a specific group of leather. Typically it describes a quality of leather that is very smooth, soft, and flexible.

Moreover, leather, in general, can have different treatments. Some may have gone through sanding or buffing. Or some may have gone through natural or chromium tanning. While Nappa leather usually has a natural, high-quality, incorrect grain surface. It also likewise only goes through chromium tanning and not natural tanning.

In conclusion, there is barely a difference between the two. Leather is a general term that may refer to a variety of types and qualities. Napa leather on the other hand is a specific term that describes a particular quality of leather.

What is Napa Leather Used For?

Known for its soft, flexible, and smooth qualities, what are the many uses of napa leather? It is popular for many car owners and car upholstery businesses. They say that it is the ideal type of leather for car interiors, especially for the seat. They describe napa leather as being "buttery soft", a perfect seating surface. Moreover, other than being comfortable to sit in, napa leather is durable and easy to maintain. Something that is very convenient for car owners. It is also easier to clean liquid spills, especially for cars without cup holders. Napa leather also has a very luxurious look. That is the reason why it can be found on most expensive cars. It is superior in quality and style in comparison to other leather types.

Its other uses include furniture upholstery (such as in a sofa), clothing, wallets, gloves, handbag, and shoes. Napa leather is also popular for heavy-duty items such as holsters or utility belts.

Leather Briefcase

Leather Working with Napa Leather

Leatherworking or the process of making leather is slightly different from one leather to another. For example, we have full-grain leather. Full-grain leather is high-quality leather however it is tough therefore hard to work with. Manufacturing costs also add to its price that is why it is expensive. Napa leather on the other hand is a very desirable leather to work with. It is easy to work and style because it is soft and flexible. Many also appreciate its uncorrected imperfect surface.

Napa leather is great for handcraft leatherworking. Because of its softness, the material feels very good in the hand. This makes the leather nice to work with. Furthermore, napa leather is generally easy to cut and sew. Making the leatherworking process smoother and less of a burden for the artisan. It is also easier to shape and form because it is flexible. Napa is likewise easy to work in smaller applications such as shoe accents, cardholders, and small wallets.

Napa leather not only feels good during leatherworking, but you can appreciate its qualities through its finish product. You can experience its softness with everyday use like when you are grabbing a wallet or putting on Napa gloves. You can recognize the quality and benefits of the material more every time you use it.

Quality of Napa Leather

The quality of napa leather is very high. It typically comes from full grain leather. It is uncorrected and/or non split leather, and therefore contains strong fibers. This type of leather usually comes from lamb, goat kid, or sheepskin. The skins coming from these animals are already typically soft. The animal skins have not been modified apart from removing all their hair or wool. This gives the leather an authentic look because it keeps the texture and markings of the original animal skin. Other than being soft and flexible this leather is also strong and durable since it comes from full-grain leather.

Leather backpack
The Raoul Backpack

The Appearance of Napa Leather

Napa leather is beautiful, like most real leather. And since it usually comes from full-grain leather it also has the natural characteristics of the animal skin visible. Most leather that comes from full-grain or the outermost layer has many imperfections. Scars and blemishes are often visible on the leather even after processing the skin. Napa leather is however sensitive to dirt and sunlight because its pores are not sealed. Excessive sunlight might cause the leather to bleach.

Napa leather may also look slightly pigmented because it is dyed with water-soluble colorants. This makes the leather more vulnerable to light and abrasion. Slightly pigmented leather however appears to be more even and smoother. Not all Nappa leathers are slightly pigmented. Only those that are dyed with water-soluble colorants.

Advantages of Napa Leather

There are quite a few advantages that napa leather can give. The first is that it is strong yet soft and flexible. It is also very stylish and elegant making it popular for automotive seats and other furniture. Napa leather is likewise durable like most high-quality leather.

Advantages of Napa LeatherLr to clean in comparison to other fabrics. Dust can easily be wiped off the leather. Similarly, napa leather does not absorb water or any other liquid quickly. You can therefore clean the spill just by immediately wiping the surface. And lastly, Nappa leather is also hypoallergenic. Perfect for those who have respiratory system problems.

Disadvantages of Napa Leather

No leather is perfect, even Nappa leather. Since it comes from full-grain leather it can be expensive. It is also extremely sensitive to dirt. Likewise, it is sensitive to sunlight. Bleaching will likely occur if you expose the leather to the sun for too long. Nappa leather is a soft and porous material, it is vulnerable to irreversible damages. Without proper care, the leather might experience discolorations and permanent stains. This leather is also hard to repair. Any rips or tears will be costly.

How To Care For Napa Leather

All types of leather need some TLC or tender loving care. So how do we take care of Nappa leather? It will depend on its use. Like for example, if you have Nappa leather on your vehicle you may want to spray the leather with a water and stain protectant. It is important to do this before you use the leather. This will help repel any liquid on the leather that may cause damage. It would also help if you park your vehicle in a cool, dry area out of direct sunlight.

When trying to remove dirt or dust, use a dry lint-free cloth to wipe the surface. Make sure to be gentle when wiping. For stains, you might want to use a cotton washcloth that is slightly dampened with lukewarm water. It is important to properly clean and maintain your leather. This will not only make them look clean but keep them stay strong and looking great as well.

The Gyda Backpack (iPad not included)

How to Clean Nappa Leather

Cleaning Nappa leather is no different from cleaning other leather. Leather is delicate to clean and you should be aware of the dos and don't.

Before you clean the whole leather it is important to do a spot test first. Generally, test on a small area to ensure the leather cleaner you are applying will not damage the leather. After testing that it is safe, you can clean the rest of the leather.

Clean the leather with a slightly dampened lint-free cloth. Be careful about how damp the cloth is. If it is too wet you might stain the leather. If it is too dry then it won't remove the dirt, dust, or grime at all. Although you this is likely to happen if the leather is dyed with a water-soluble colorant. Rub it gently across the surface and take it easy. Some of the moisture might air-dry from the surface however you should wipe it dry to be safe.

If the dirt, grime, or stain is difficult to clean with just water, you may use a leather cleaner. You can check for cleaners and soaps that are meant to clean leather such as Nappa.

How to Condition Napa Leather

You should condition all your leather, including Nappa leather. Conditioning napa leather is no different from condition other leather types. However, it is important to frequently condition unfinished Nappa leather. This is because it has leather fibers that dry out more quickly than other types of leather.

Typically we use leather conditioners to conditioner our leather. These leather conditioners are usually either wax, oil. or cream. You apply them onto the surface and let the leather absorb. This will nourish and revitalize the fibers that make up the leather. The result would be a more soft and flexible leather. It also protects the leather from scratches.

Before you condition, you must always clean your leather first. Then you can apply the conditioner by using a soft, lint0free cloth. You apply the conditioners in small portions. Gently apply it in small circles. Leave the conditioner on the leather for a while to allow the leather to absorb. You should also wipe off the excess.

After conditioning your Napa leather, you have the option to apply a protective finish. This extra layer will protect your leather a bit more from water and scratches. It does however hide some of the desired looks and feels that the natural leather offers. Protective finishes are usually natural or synthetic waxes/acrylic. This is reserved as an option because usually, napa leather looks best without a finish.

leather briefcase
The Viggo Briefcase

How to Waterproof Napa Leather

It is possible to waterproof Nappa leather. In order to protect it from the elements, a wax protectant is added to make the leather water-resistant.

To waterproof your leather, you must first clean and condition it. Once that is done, apply the wax protectant thoroughly across the surface. Leave the wax for a few minutes. You may then buff the surface. This will give the leather a smooth and pleasant shine. And more importantly, provide a barrier that helps repel water.

Moreover, acrylics can be applied to the leather surface for a more lasting and durable finish. An example of an acrylic finish is resolene. This finish leaves a thin, transparent plastic coating over the leather. While a strong layer of waterproofing is good for the leather, it has its downside. The stronger the layer the more difficult it is to later reach, clean, and condition the real leather underneath. This however goes down as a matter of preference. You can always choose what you think is best for your leather.

How to Fix a Scratch on Napa Leather

To fix a scratch on leather, first, you have to identify how large and deep the scratch is. There are a few methods to fix and repair depending on how large and deep the scratch is. Since napa leather is full of natural fibers, the simplest way to fix it is to add oils back into the fibers. For small scratches, apply a little bit of oil and rub it with your fingers. For deeper scratches, try applying a leather conditioner to the scratch and surrounding area. Buff it out with a soft lint-free cloth after.

If your leather has a very large or deep scratch, simple methods won't work. You will need a leather filler kit for this job. These kits usually have a substance to fill the cracks or cuts. The kit also has a color matching option, to keep your leather looking uniform as possible. Make sure to follow the instructions on the kit.

How to Fix Tears in Napa Leather

Tears can generally be fixed by sewing the leather together. Although it will never look as smooth as the original fibers. You will need a fine, strong thread to sew it together. Make sure to use a thread with the same color or shade as your leather. However, for smaller tears, it is possible to fix them with leather glue. Simply apply the glue and join the two torn areas. Remember to select a color that is near the original leather color. If no similar color is available, you can pain it with acrylic paint once the glue is dry.

The Calder Backpack
The Calder Backpack

How to Store Napa Leather

Storing your napa leather is similar to most leather. Store it in a cool, dry, dust-free place. We advise that you store your leather in low to average humidity environments. An open environment is also great for leather. Airflow allows the natural fibers to breathe and stay pliable. Some good places to store napa leather are in your dressing rooms and closets.

Some leather products come with storage bags. These bags are usually made of breathable fabric that keeps humidity in check. If you have no place to store your leather, a storage bag can be a great investment for your leather.

Commonly asked questions about Napa Leather

Here are a few questions that people commonly ask around about napa leather. Maybe some questions are similar to yours.

Is Nappa Leather expensive?

It can be quite costly. It is a bit more expensive than vegetable tanned leather despite being chromium tanned. For example, a high-quality vegetable tanned cowhide will cost around $150. Napa leather with the same quantity will likely cost around $200.

Is Nappa Leather good for jackets?

Nappa leather is a great choice for a leather jacket. It is very enjoyable to wear because of its softness and flexibility. It is also very comfortable to wear, especially when you have uncorrected, full-grain napa leather. This is because they are generally a more breathable fabric.

How Can You Tell If Leather is Nappa?

Despite merely being a term to describe leather, there is a way to tell. Although it might not be as accurate. You can tell by touch. Nappa leather has a soft feel to it, and it is also flexible.

What is Nappa Leather in Cars?

Napa leather for cars is an ambiguous term. It generally refers to soft, smooth leather often made from full-grain leather. Other than its feel, it also has a naturally textured surface since it is unaltered. It does however have a soft and luxurious feel and aesthetic to it. Particularly why it is popular inside luxury cars.

Does Napa Leather Peel?

Most if not all leather will peel. Without proper care and maintenance, napa leather will peel. Peeling usually happens when the fibers dry out or when it is exposed to elements. Take care of your leather to keep it from peeling. Remember that Napa leather is difficult to repair and most of its damages are usually irreversible.


https://steelhorseleather.com/blogs/the-journal/napa-leather-complete-guide

Top Men's Leather Messenger Bags 2021 | Ultimate Leather Messenger Bag Guide

Are you looking for the right bag for work or the office and even for school? How about you give the leather messenger bag a try. The leather messenger bag is perfect for those who need a little bit of organization in their life. It is perfect for storing paperwork, books, and even your laptop and other devices. Leather messenger bags are also easy to commute with. They are comfortable to travel and easy to store. With leather, a messenger bag will never go out of style.

If you are looking to buy a leather messenger bag then you are in the right place. Know more about the magnificent leather messenger bag with this ultimate leather messenger bag guide. You will not only learn about the messenger bag but also the leather that makes the bag itself. This guide also showcase's a selection of the top men's leather messenger bag of 2021. A selection that we guarantee is the best of the best, whether for school or work or anything in between.

Men's Leather Messenger Bag
Welch Messenger Bag

Anatomy Of a Leather Messenger Bag

Before you plan to buy a leather messenger bag for yourself or give it to another, you should know some answers to a few questions. Questions such as "what is a leather messenger bag?" or "what is leather and where does it come from?" or "what are the different styles of leather messenger bags?"

What better way to know what is a leather crossbody bag than to look at its anatomy. Know the in and outs of a leather messenger bag. Such as the type of leather used or the materials and the stitching of the bag itself. And likewise know the different styles and designs available. Lastly, know the details and unique features of the bag.

Know Your Leather

First things first. What are leather messenger bags made out of? Obviously, it is leather. But what kind or type of leather is it? There are different kinds and different types of leather out there. Each type a different quality. Likewise, each type offers something different. The type of leather will vary for different reasons. Reasons such as what kind of animal is the skin from? Or the treatment that the skin goes through to become leather. Even the layer of the skin from where the leather comes from matters. All produce different types of leather. Get to know the different types of leather and choose which type you like your leather messenger bag to be.

In choosing a leather bag, understanding the different types of leather is probably the most important part.

Full-Grain

Starting from the top we have the full grain leather. Full grain is the highest quality leather among all leathers. It is the type of premium leather that is made to last even after a tough beating. Full grain leather comes directly from animal skin. It is the type of leather where the skin is preserved to its most natural form. The topmost layer of the skin contains the most fibers. Hence the reason why full grain is strong and durable.

Full grain is also beautiful as it ages because of its patina. It is, likewise, unique. Unique because unlike other leather, full grain has a very distinctive appearance. Imperfection from the animal skin is what gives it an uneven appearance. They say that every animal's skin is unique and so should every full grain leather.

Full grain leather has a certain toughness to it. Although it makes the leather strong and durable it also makes it harder to work with. Manufacturing costs usually account for the leather's workability and hence why full grain leather is expensive.

Top Grain

Next in line is the top grain leather. It is not as strong nor as durable as full grain. It still however gets the job done. Top grain is also from animal skin but with the natural grain off. Top grain has a uniform and more refined appearance in comparison to full grain. It, therefore, has a more sleek look to it. Likewise, top grain is more flexible than full grain. Full grain is thick and tough because of the natural grain. But for top grain, once the natural grain is removed the animal skin and leather becomes easier to work with.

Despite being second to full grain, top grain is still durable, strong, and beautiful. It can also withstand the test of time.

Genuine Leather

You may have seen genuine leather more often than full grain and top grain leather. While genuine leather is still indeed real leather its quality is far inferior from full grain and top grain leather. Genuine leather is basically a Frankenstein of leather. It is made by having a bunch of leather scraps glued together.

Despite its inferiority in quality, there are many high-quality bags made from genuine leather. They are still strong and durable when comparing them to fake leather. 'They are a lot cheaper than full grain and top grain too. Although if you are looking for a rugged heavy-duty bag, genuine leather may not be the right choice for a genuine leather messenger bag.

Suede and Nubuck

Two types of leather that you have probably heard of. Suede and nubuck leather are two popular leather often used on shoes, jackets, and furniture. Suede and nubuck are quite similar such as having a velvet-like surface. Yet both also have distinctive differences. Suede is from the underside of the animal skin. It makes suede softer and more pliable although it not as durable. Nubuck on the other hand is from the outer side of the hide. It is stronger, thicker, and has a fine grain in comparison to suede. Nubuck is soft to touch, easily scratches, and darkens when wet. Likewise, nubuck is generally more expensive than suede.

Faux Leather

Faux leather is not leather. However, since we are talking about leather, it is important to know about fake leather. It is best to avoid faux leather. Faux leather imitates real leather on how it looks and how it feels. It is however inferior with regards to strength, durability, and overall quality.

If you are looking for a bag that is made to last, you might not want a faux leather bag. However, if you are trying to avoid the idea of animal cruelty then faux leather is a great alternative. The strength and durability of the faux leather will depend on the manufacturer. But generally, its quality is inferior to real leather.

Style

With varying leather styles, there are also varying styles of leather messenger bags. Different designs offer various advantages. From traditional styles to modern designs, there are many to choose from.

Traditional Leather Messenger Bags

Traditional leather messenger bags are what you commonly see in movies and shows. Especially movies or shows that depict the old times. Its style is simple. It may usually just have one big main compartment to store all your things. It may also have two small pockets on the outside for extra space. The traditional leather messenger bag will also have a shoulder strap and a small leather handle. There are designs where the straps is removable and there are those where it is not.

Briefcase Leather Messenger Bags

Briefcase leather messenger bags usually have a sleek design. It also has a simple exterior while its interior mainly focuses on organization. Briefcase leather messenger bags are basically handheld briefcases with a shoulder strap. It has a structure that is very upright, thus keeping your articles neat and organized.

Satchel Leather Messenger Bags

Satchlel leather messenger bags are smaller than your average messenger bag. It is designed to carry a minimal amount however it has ample of space for your valuables. Satchel leather messenger bags are often worn cross body. Unlike a regular messenger bag where it just hangs on the side, the satchel hangs on the opposite hip. Moreover, unlike a briefcase, a satchel leather messenger bag is soft sided.

They are typically used by school children because of their size. They are also easy to access. Its compartments are likewise good for storing and organizing books.

Laptop Leather Messenger Bags

Laptop leather messenger bags have become increasingly popular over the years. With more and more of our things becoming digital, devices have also become a necessity. A device which is hand for work and school is always a laptop. A laptop can store and create schoolwork and office work. The laptop is meant to be convenient and mobile however it is not easy to carry around everywhere. With the laptop leather messenger bags, you can store your laptop, macbook, and other devices securely. It keeps usually has a dedicated laptop compartment, laptop sleeve or laptop pocket. It also keeps the laptop from bumping with other things inside the bag. Likewise, keeps the laptop from moving around the bag as well.

Full-Grain Leather Messenger Bag

Full grain leather messenger bags are heavy-duty bags. They usually have a rugged vintage look because of the full grain leather. Full grain leather messenger bags although quite strong and durable are oftentimes heavy. However, if you are looking for a classy and stylish messenger bag for work or a business meeting then this style is right for you. This style is versatile enough to pull off both a professional or adventurous look. It is also versatile for an urban style or sporty get-up.

Top Full Grain Leather Messenger Bags

There are many full grain leather messenger bags out there. Many with different styles and different designs. Those of which have varying compartment sizes and compartment numbers. However, despite the numbers, we have prepared a selection of the top 3 of the best. This selection of bags focuses not only on style but on function as well. Get to know more about our selection and what makes them the best of the best.

The Welch Briefcase | Vintage Handmade Leather Messenger Bag

leather messenger bags
The Welch Briefcase

Looking for a vintage handmade leather messenger bag? Maybe the Welch Briefcase is perfect for you. It has a very minimal yet mature style. Although its style is simple it is a high-functioning messenger bag. This leather messenger bag is capable of carrying all your articles and valuables. It is the perfect everyday bag for men. It is also capable of housing laptops up to 14 inches wide. It is very spacious with dimensions of 16.5 inches by 12 inches by 3.5 inches (16.5" x 12" x 3.5" or 42cm x 30cm x 9cm).

However, not only is the Welch Briefcase highly functional it is also made of high-quality leather. The Welch Briefcase is made of high-quality crazy horse leather. It is therefore strong, durable, and very sturdy yet it is lightweight. In fact, despite its size, the Welch Briefcase only weighs 3.7 lbs or 1.7 kg. The Welch Briefcase likewise keeps your things secure and protected with its polyester lining. It, therefore, insulates the inside of the bag from any unwanted moisture.

The Welch Briefcase is a classic messenger bag that is also very comfortable to wear and carry. With its leather handles and adjustable strap, you will be carrying this bag with ease. Not only are the shoulder straps adjustable but they are also removable. They are likewise ergonomically designed to distribute the weight evenly across the back.

Laptop Bag The Viggo Briefcase | Leather Laptop Bag

leather messenger bags
The Viggo Briefcase

If you are looking for a professional-looking bag, the Viggo Briefcase might be just for you. The Viggo Briefcase is perfect for a formal or corporate look because of its minimal approach design. It is appearance is something that is both sleek and respectable. It also has a spacious interior compartment with polyester lining. The Viggo Briefcase, therefore, keeps your things safe and well organized while looking formal. Its dimension are 15 inches by 11.6 inches by 3.5 inches (15" x 11.6" x 3.5" or 38cm x 29cm x 9cm). Despite its space and proportions the Viggo Briefcase only weighs 3.7 lbs or 1.7 kg. This is because it is made of high-quality lightweight crazy horse leather.

With its size, the Viggo Briefcase can fit a laptop up to 14 inches in size. That laptop is also securely fastened to prevent it from moving around the bag. Even with the laptop, the Viggo Briefcase has amply space to keep your articles such as an ipad. It also has an exterior zippered pocket on the back for things that you want to easily and quickly accessible.

Furthermore, the Viggo Briefcase has two carrying options. Both very comfortable to the wearer. First, it has a leather handle bag with big loops. These loops give you plenty of space to adjust your grip. You may also wear it like a handbag if it fits your style. Second, are the ergonomically designed straps built to distribute the weight evenly across the back. These straps are adjustable and removable. Both are made of wear-proof and durable material.

The Gustav Messenger Bag | Large Capacity Vintage Leather Messenger Bag

leather messenger bags
The Gustav Messenger Bag

A large-capacity leather messenger bag with a vintage aesthetic. If you are looking for a large retro bag then you might what to consider the Gustav Messenger Bag. This large leather messenger bag's dimension are 16.5 inches by 12.6 inches by 8.3 inches (16.5" x 12.6" x 8.3" or 42cm x 32cm x 21cm).

It has two interior central compartments. These compartments are capable of storing laptops of up to 15 inches in width with ample room for other things. It also has 2 additional open pockets on the inside and 2 side pockets on the outside. The main compartment is very secure. It is well protected by not one, not two but three straps. These straps can be adjusted and securely fastened.

Despite its large size and capacity the Gustav Messenger Bag only weighs 5.7 lbs or 2.6 kg. This is because it is made of high-quality crazy horse leather. Despite the Gustav Messenger Bag is strong, durable, and sturdy it is lightweight. Likewise, crazy horse leather is also water-resistant.

Furthermore, the Gustav Messenger bag has two comfortable carrying options. Because of its size, it has a very thick and well-padded handle. It is easy to grip and hold, even for a long period of time. And if your arms ever get tired from carrying the bag, you can always wear it over your shoulder. The removable shoulder strap is adjustable and removable. The thick exterior flap will keep this vintage messenger bag protected and your things neatly kept inside.

Here is a secret. The Gustav Messenger bag does not only have two carrying options but three. You can wear the Gustave like a backpack by removing the shoulder straps from the side. There are D rings on the top and bottom where you can clip the straps. This will transform your large messenger bag into a large rucksack in no time.

Storage & Compartments

Of course, if you are looking for a bag, you would want to put first its functions before the style. For leather messenger bags, there are a few storage and compartments to know about. Different styles and different designs may alter the number of compartments and pockets. They do however serve the same purpose more or less.

Main / Large Compartment

The most spacious place around the bag is or are the main compartment. We say are because some bags have two "main" compartments. However, if you look at it simply it is just a large space with a divider in between. For leather messenger bags, the main compartment is ideally organized for mail and other documents. This is because messenger bags were primarily used by postmen and courier men, hence the name.

Laptop Sleeve in your Leather Bag

Older designs may not have these but for modern leather messenger bags, most manufacturers have incorporated this feature. Laptop sleeves or compartments in your leather messenger bags or any bag for that matter are convenient. Most persons have a laptop to carry these days. From students to office workers, a laptop is a trusted, companion. It is a matter of convenience because it not only provides space for your laptop it also secures it as well. Some laptop sleeves even have a strap to keep the laptop in place. This keeps the laptop from moving around the bag. Some sleeves also have padding on both sides.

Exterior Side Pockets:

Exterior side pockets are usually small. You may find one or two on a leather messenger bag. These pockets can store small things that you frequently use. They are also easy to access which makes them very handy. Not all leather messenger bags however have exterior side pockets. There are two types of side pockets: open side pockets and zippered pockets. Side pockets that have a strap and buckle or velcro are also available variations.

Zippered compartment

Zippered compartments whether exterior or interior is great. They are very easy to access and quick to open. Unlike straps zippers simply slide to close or open. Not only are they easy to access but they also keep your things secure.

Special Pockets For Your Stuff –

Of course, you would not want to keep your valuables in the exterior pockets. Even if those pockets are secured by a zipper or a strap, you would want a special place to store them. Things like your keys, your phone, and even big amounts of cash or credit cards. Things that you want to keep safe and hidden. Special pockets do just that. Special pockets are usually in the interior of the leather messenger bags. However, there are special pockets that are on the exterior. Like those that are on the backside of the bag.

Interior Pockets:

Interior pockets vary in size and number. Depending on the style or design of the bag. Most bags have open interior pockets or compartments. These are made to simply organize the inside of the bag. For example, keeping your smaller items separate from the larger ones. This also keeps the smaller items from going under the bag. Some interior pockets have zippers and serve as special space for your valuables.

Padded Shoulder Straps on your Shoulder Bag

For leather messenger bags, shoulder straps are a must. Primarily shoulder straps offer an alternative carrying option. It would be troublesome to hand carry a heavy bag all the time. Likewise, the shoulder strap will make heavy bags easy to carry. Moreover, padded shoulder straps are a huge bonus. They offer comfort to the wearer's shoulder. A padded shoulder strap will make a huge difference, especially when you are carrying a heavy bag.

Adjustable Shoulder Strap

Shoulder straps are also convenient because they are adjustable. Most if not all designs have adjustable shoulder straps. They give the wearer the freedom to choose the height of the bag relative to his or her body. Adjusting the height of the bag also makes a huge difference in comfort. Typically a leather messenger bag is worn just above your waist level to maximize mobility and comfort.

Removable Strap

Of course, leather messenger bags also have the option of removing the straps. Removable straps are very convenient. Sometimes when you hand carry a bag, the long strap may hang down. That can sometimes be a burden whenever it catches onto things. And honestly, sometimes it can just be annoying.

Brass Hardware

Leather is not the only thing that makes these leather messenger bags great. Its brass hardware is top quality. It adds to the reasons why these leather messenger bags are the best of the best. Its zippers are not only ordinary zippers. They are high-quality, heavy-duty YKK zippers. YKK zippers are world-renowned and are known all throughout the fashion industry. Our buckles are also high-quality and heavy-duty. Brass buckles are strong. They do not easily bend and likewise do not easily rust.

How to Clean a Leather Laptop Messenger Bag

To clean your leather laptop bag, you will have to be delicate. Like all leather bags, they should never be submerged in water. Water will ruin your leather. To clean your leather you should use saddle soap. If you have none, you may use a mild shampoo or baby soap. Use a clean soft cloth to dampen the leather and likewise use the same to apply soap. Use gentle circular motions to clean the leather.

Once you have rinsed all the soap off, wipe the leather dry with another soft clean cloth. Be sure to wipe it dry as soon as you can. Any prolonged moisture on the leather may ruin the leather. After you wipe the leather dry, air dry the leather for a few hours.

After your leather dries, always apply leather conditioner to your leather. Use the same technique in applying the leather conditioner. We recommend that you occasionally clean and condition your leather. Typically leather you should clean and condition your leather at least twice a year. However, you may do it more frequently depending on how much you use it.

Leather Messenger Bag New York
Welch Messenger Bag in Brooklyn

Leather Messenger Bags: Frequently Asked Questions

If you have some questions about leather messenger bags before buying it is perfectly fine. Here are some of the Frequently Asked Questions about leather messenger bags on the internet.

What should I look for in a messenger bag?

You should look for a few things such as the quality of the materials and the manufacturer. First is the leather. Be sure it is from real high-quality leather. Next is to look at the other materials such as the zippers and the buckle. You should likewise check the stitching and the bag's interior lining and finishing. Choose a manufacturer that you can trust.

Who makes the best leather messenger bags?

There are high-quality leather messenger bag manufacturers out there. However, we highly recommend Steel Horse Leather Co., when it comes to leather bags and wallets. Steel Horse Leather Co., works with only the best leather artisans to bring you genuine, high-quality leather goods and leather accessories.

Which leather is best for a leather briefcase?

For leather briefcases, full grain or top grain leather from cowhide is the best. It is extremely durable and strong. It also has a very appealing look.

Crazy horse leather is also great for a leather briefcase. It is not only high-quality leather but it is also lightweight. Hand-carrying a leather briefcase full of documents can be very heavy at times. With strong, lightweight leather, carrying a leather briefcase can be made easy.

Should I get a backpack or messenger bag?

It depends! This decision will more likely depend on your needs. For the office or corporate setting, a backpack will likely look out of place. Messenger bags on a hiking trip will likely trouble you unless you are going for an Indiana Jones look. Choosing the right bag will definitely be a matter of preference.

How do I pack my messenger bag?

Messenger bags are easy to pack. It has a large opening for easy packing and unpacking. Most leather messenger bags will have one main compartment. Be sure to pack the things you need the least at the bottom. Smaller items should be in the pocket or compartments for easy organization. If you are packing your laptop, be sure to place it in the laptop sleeve. When packing books and other documents are sure to pack them upright. This makes it more organized and easier to access.

Are messenger bags comfortable?

Messenger bags are very comfortable. Most messenger bags have padding on the handles. This makes the handle easier to grip and carry for a long time. And if you are not a fan of had carrying your messenger bag, there is always a shoulder strap. Shoulder straps are adjustable and removable. They also have paddings for extra comfort. Most shoulder straps are also ergonomically designed to distribute the weight evenly across the back. Talk about comfort!


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What Is A Backpack: Overview and Guide to Backpacks

The backpack. It is probably the most common bag out there. Everybody uses a backpack. From pre-schoolers going to school to adult hitchhikers going on an adventure. It is a versatile bag for which associates with adventure, freedom, and travel. It is also for function, maybe even dating back to our primitive ancestors. However, there is more to a backpack than just its use. Get to know more about the backpack, its history, and more.

leather backpack
The Asmund Backpack

What Is A Backpack: Brief History

Before we talk about the backpack itself, let us first understand its origin. Although there exists little to no evidence, our primitive ancestors were likely to have used the backpack. Or at least the very concept of it. Which is the need to carry something from point A to point B. Many speculate that man instinctively learned that it was easier to carry a heavy object on their back rather than carrying it by their arms. Likewise, it would be convenient for them to carry things on their back. As such this would give them a free hand to carry weapons like spears and clubs. However, these are mere speculations due to lack of evidence.

The earliest ever record of a backpack or at least the concept of using a backpack were in the Alps. Evidence shows an early design of a U-shaped rod with two wooden boards that are held together by a string. Accordingly, its use is mainly to carry firewood. Making it easier to carry. It also increases the firewood that they can carry.

Modern Design

While our ancestors had the idea, the early design of the backpack that we know and love began around the year 1878. It was thanks to the innovation of Henry Merriam where we get to see the early designs of the modern backpack. Its name was the "knapsack". The knapsack had a metal frame support that would help reduce the burden on the back. The idea however never came to fruition. It was instead made exclusively for the US Army.

Moving forward, it was only around the early 20th century where ideas came to revolutionize the backpack. Many have contributed to the transformation of the design. From inventors to adventurers, these people help make the backpack we know today. One after the other seeking to redesign and improve its function and comfort.

Nowadays, backpacks are both for function and fashion with varying shapes and sizes. Likewise, its design continues to grow.

Leather backpack
The Sten Backpack

What Is A Backpack: The Fundamentals

While there have been many innovations to the design of the backpack, these variations did not go far from the basic form.

Fundamentally, the modern backpack is frameless. It is either made of cloth, nylon, leather, or waxed canvas. The pack is typically carried on the back. Hence its name the "back" "pack". It has two parallel straps that hang over the shoulders. Since its purpose is to ease the burden by carrying the load on one's back the shoulder strap typically are adjustable and have pads. The pads provide comfort for the wearer even while carrying a heavy load. Likewise, the adjustable straps are meant to move the weight. Whether you want it to be higher or lower on the back. This will help with the burden of carrying a heavy load. Also, almost all designs include a main compartment.

Likewise, the fundamental innovations introduced are also meant to provide comfort and convenience. An example would be the introduction of the waist strap hip belt. The waist strap and sternum strap provides for additional support. It decreases the burden on the shoulder by sharing the weight on the waist. Exterior and interior compartments were also introduced for security and accessibility. Its size also varies depending on the activity.

Different Types Of Backpacks

If you are thinking that there might be a backpack for every activity, chances are you might be correct. The variety of choices might overwhelm someone who knows nothing about backpacks. Worry not, we are here to help by getting you familiar with the different types and sub-types of bags.

For Everyday Use

These are the ones that people use on a daily basis. Be it for school, work, commute, going to the gym, or for any other activity. These are the most common and the most popular. Everyday backpacks include the basic daypack, the rucksack, and drawstring backpacks. The Anti theft backpack and laptop backpack are also for everyday use. Likewise, a duffel backpack and a tote backpack are also included. They are simply either a tote/duffel with shoulder straps and typically are a frameless backpack.

For Biking

These are for biking. There are only two types. Hydration backpacks and biking gear backpacks. These backpacks are pretty straightforward as their names suggest. One offers hands-free hydration while riding while the other offers organizational compartments for tools and other cycling gear. The gear backpack is larger than the other. Likewise, it may also have a hydration bladder. A 2 in 1 bag of sorts.

For Hiking or Trekking

Likewise, these are designed for people who often go hiking or trekking. The hiking backpack can vary in size and structure. From small to large, framed, or frameless. The hiking pack is built to carry a lot of things but is still lightweight and durable.

For Travel

While most if not all backpacks are for travel these travel backpack are more innovative than others when it comes to travel. For example, is the "backpacking backpack". Large backpacks for people who go on long trips, such as cross country or a Euro Trip. There are also "carry on backpacks". They are made to fit inside overhead bins or rest on the floor during a quick trip. There also backpacks that are TSA friendly and there are those backpacks with wheels. Furthermore, if it is for travel you could consider a duffel bag.

Leather Backpacks
The Garth Backpack

What Backpack Should You Choose

Choosing a backpack is a matter of preference. We cannot dictate what backpack you should buy. We can however at the very least give you a few tips to help you decide.

Comfort

The most important factor. It is simple. If you wear it and it makes you uncomfortable then you should not buy it. Remember that years of innovating is not only for utility and function. It is also for comfort. Check the straps and the back for padding. Make sure to check if you are l with hip belts as well.

Durability and Material

Your bag should be made with high-quality material such as nylon, leather, or waxed canvas. The better the material the longer it will last. Strength also matters because of the demand to carry a heavier load. Likewise, be sure to check the stitching and the thread material. These small things will be crucial to the durability of your backpack.

Content Protection

While it is not really a necessity, it is still important. You may want to consider buying a water-resistant bag whenever you go outdoors. You may also want to consider bags with a padded laptop compartment or a laptop sleeve and pockets for other electronics.

Size

Sometimes size matters. Find the right size the fits you. Many sources however suggest that the "right size" is one that is proportional to your body. It must also fit all the items you need to carry. Bag size range from extra small and small for torsos up to 18", medium and regular for torsos 18"-20", and large for those 20" and above.

Activity

Of course, you will need to buy a backpack that will fit the activity. You would not want to carry an oversized hiking bag to a quick weekend getaway, nor store a laptop inside a hydration backpack.

Organization

It is important to consider the organizational capabilities of the perfect backpack. Such that you may store your belongings without compromising on accessibility. You might also want to prefer a large backpack with multiple pockets or compartments. Or prefer those with an elastic side pocket.

Budget

Take note, that the quality of the materials should reflect the price. Do not compromise price over quality. However, do not reach too far that the bag is out of your budget. Find the right bag that is within your budget while still good quality materials.

If you are looking for a leather backpack come visit us as our shop. Just click on the link below.

Steel Horse Leather Co. | Store


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